Price Tag Continues To Grow on Cameron School

Students at Cameron High School should finally get to use their new facility upon returning to school in January, but opening the building will cost Marshall County taxpayers about $528,000 more than expected because of project adjustments.

Following about 50 minutes of closed-door discussions Tuesday, board of education members Roger Lewicki, Lori Kestner, Thomas Gilbert, John Miller and Beth Phillips unanimously voted to pay the additional amount to Nello Construction of Canonsburg, Pa., in change orders for the school.

This additional $528,000 will bring the total cost of the new structure – already a year behind schedule – to roughly $32 million. The project is being paid for through West Virginia School Building Authority funds and money taken from a school bond passed by voters.

Following the vote, Assistant Superintendent Wayne Simms said Cameron students will be able to use the new school in January, noting the actual completion date is set for Dec. 18.

And while he is glad to see that Cameron is getting a new high school, Marshall County resident John Toth told board members during the meeting they need to be more prudent with their finances.

“We wanted you to build a school at Cameron – not a palace,” he said.

Toth also told board members they should consider reducing the school’s excess levy rate on the taxpayers. This is because, he said, property assessments throughout the county are going up, in part due to the value of the Marcellus Shale oil and gas located in the area. Toth said the school board could reduce the levy rate, yet still see an increase in revenue because of the higher property values.

Board members took no position on Toth’s proposal.

Also, board members voted to spend $28,899 for new lunch tables at Sherrard Middle School and Sand Hill Elementary School and $38,610 for asphalt paving at Sherrard Middle School.

Superintendent Fred Renzella also discussed with board members the possibility of hiring a prevention resource officer to work at Sherrard Middle School. He said this would cost roughly $46,000 per year, with the board picking up 75 percent of the cost and the Marshall County Commission paying the other 25 percent.

There was no action taken on this proposal, though, because Renzella said it would be on the agenda for the next meeting.