WV State Fire Marshall Tim Mouse Briefs Board of Education about School Buildings

At their October 10th meeting, the Pocahontas County Board of Education heard from Tim Mouse, the West Virginia State Fire Marshall about sprinkler and fire alarm problems at Marlinton Middle School, Green Bank Elementary/Middle School and particularly at Marlinton Elementary School.  Mouse said that the fire alarms and sprinklers at each of these three schools are very old and are failing, and replacement is the only option since repair parts are no longer available for the alarms while the pipes of the sprinkler systems are so old and corroded that they are constantly failing. He mentioned that if the sprinklers were to fail in the middle of the night or on a weekend when no one was in the school, the water damage could be massive. Here, Mouse talks about Marlinton Elementary School.

“There’s concern over the sprinkler system at that building, it’s at the end of its life cycle.” said Mouse. “When they do the trip test, all you get is leaks.  It definitely needs replaced. The fire alarm system needs replaced, it’s outdated, you can’t get parts for it and it does need upgrade.”

The concern with Marlinton Elementary School are that even if money becomes available through the SBA, that school would not be eligible for state support for these repairs since the school is located in a flood zone.

Ron Hall, Maintenance Director of the schools said to replace both the sprinkler system and the fire alarm system at just one of these three schools would cost between $240,000 and $300,000, which is money the school system simply does not have. Of course, SBA and Levy money could be used to replace those systems at Green Bank elementary/Middle School and at Marlinton Middle School if the Levy passes, but even then there would be no money to replace those systems at Marlinton Elementary.

Listen as Board Member Joe Walker discusses possible outcomes about this with Fire Marshall Mouse.

“So from our best case scenario, nothing major blows and we keep limping by” said Joe Walker.

“You’re not going to keep limping by next door” Mouse interjected- referring to Marlinton Elementary School located next door to the Board of Education Building.

“So with all reality, if something else goes down over there, we got to move” Walker said.

“Yea” replied Mouse. “Or temporarily until we get it replaced”.

“I understand” said Walker “which we don’t have the money to replace it.”

“You don’t have it” replied Mouse.

Mouse added more bad news. If one of these systems did fail, the temporary use of “Fire Watch” employees to patrol the hallways of the affected school could be used to delay closing the school for a few days only.

In other actions the Board heard from Lisa Dennison about taking 5 kids to a two day healthy foods conference in Charleston with all expenses paid for by a Federal Grant. Later in the meeting the Board approved this trip.

Ron Hall detailed constant new maintenance problems popping up in the schools including failing furnaces, freezers, and sewer line breaks at the High School.

Ruth Bland delivered both good and bad news to the Board. The bad news was that the hydraulic floor jack at the bus garage has failed and been deemed un-repairable by servicing vendor, Matz Equipment. A leaky cylinder located below the concrete floor was a major part of that. The cost to replace it will range from $30,000 to $50,000. The good news was they received final approval of an about one half million dollar Federal Grant to replace the video conferencing systems in all of the schools and other locations.  Nine pallets of these new systems have already been received.

The Board also approved the following

  • An agreement with New River Community and Technical College regarding Welding training technology
  • The transfer of a student from Greenbrier county into PCHS.
  • The approved the purchase from Mitchell Chevrolet of a 2011 ten passenger Chevrolet van for the PCHS Forestry Department, to be paid for entirely by the NRAO –now known as the Green Bank Observatory.
  • They approved the WV Oral Disease Prevention Project to provide preventative dental care to county students, and funded by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).
  • They approved a minor change to their Board Meeting policy to allow citizens to address the Board during the Delegations portion of Board meetings with only 15 minutes advance notice instead of the current 30 minutes advance notice.

The board approved the proposed the following Amended Personnel Agenda without change.


Green Bank Elementary-Middle School

UNPAID MEDICAL LEAVE: – STACY E. LANDIS -as Teacher of Science -retroactive to 10-4-16 or upon exhaustion of personal leave -through 12-12-16.

REQUESTED TRANSFER: -RANEE D HILL from Supervisory Early childhood Classroom Assistant, Teacher/Preschool Aide to Early Childhood Assistant Teacher/Aide/Bus aide at Green Bank.

Marlinton Middle School

RESCIND THE FOLLOWING ACTION: Taken at the Board of Education 9-26-16 meeting. Consent to change of Melissa Hill-Doss from Counselor at Marlinton Middle School to Counselor at Marlinton Middle school and at Pocahontas County high School for 2 days per week.

RESCIND THE FOLLOWING ACTION: Taken at the Board of Education,s 6-6-16 meeting. Employment of SKYLAR KNISLEY as boy’s Head Coach -Basketball at Marlinton Middle School.At $750.00 supplement.

EMPLOYMENT: -DAVID L> MOORE as boy’s Head Coach -Basketball at Marlinton Middle School. At $750.00 supplement.

REQUESTED TRANSFER: DENISE W. SHARP from teacher of Science to Teacher of Alternative Education effective 10-12-16.

Pocahontas County schools

EMPLOYMENT: -CHARLIE M. HUGHES as substitute Teacher for Pocahontas County Schools effective 10-12-16 as needed.

EMPLOYMENT: -PEGGY OWENS as substitute Teacher for Pocahontas County Schools retroactive to the beginning of the 2016-2017 School Year as needed


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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