JMHS Renovation Project May Kick Off Soon

While final plans have yet to be decided, work could still be done this summer at John Marshall High School to kick off a $16 million, multi-year renovation project.

During a recent meeting of the Marshall County Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Corey Murphy said district officials toured the school with representatives from Project and Construction Services Inc. and architect firm Silling Associates Inc. of Charleston. The group identified the areas that will be designated as a priority and came up with a tentative plan to reduce classroom disruptions, while not hindering instruction.

Murphy said the science classrooms and labs are a priority, as are the connector bridges at the entrances to the school. Those bridges had to be temporarily repaired recently because they were considered fire prone. Technology upgrades will also be a focus of the project.

However, the main topic of discussion has been the connector between the main school building and the performing arts center. While the intention since the inception of the project has been to enclose that connecting bridge, members of the board have discussed in recent meetings the desire to expand the school and use the open space between the two buildings for a larger cafeteria area. By expanding that area, district officials said they could eliminate a lunch period from the daily schedule, providing more time for instruction.

Discussion has also been held regarding building the connecting building in a way that allows for future expansion. While the $16 million for the current project, $7 million of which came from West Virginia School Building Authority funds and $6.2 of which will come from district contributions through a recently passed levy, doesn’t include funds for additional expansion of that connector, district officials said they would like to have the option to add even more in the future.

“We’re kind of taking it as a piecemeal thing,” said Superintendent Michael Hince. “We want to know we have the money to do each section as we go and not get ahead of ourselves.”

While the board works to come up with a final plan, Murphy and Hince said exterior work could still begin this summer. That would include the paving of the parking lots and asphalt areas, as well starting work on the tennis court and softball areas. A concession stand and restrooms in those areas will be built as part of the overall scope of work.

Other work included in the project will be the renovation of the restrooms, upgrades to the HVAC core system and the implementation of more security at the entrance to the main building.

While there is still discussion on the final details of the project, Hince said progress is happening.

“I can’t say we’re in complete harmony yet, but we’re getting there,” he said. “There’s been a lot of going back and forth and lots of good discussion.”