Push Begins for $42.2M School Bond Measure

Photo by Joselyn King Madison Elementary School could be among buildings to benefit if voters approve a $42.2 million school bond issue in Ohio County on May 8.

As the walkout by teachers and service employees grabbed immediate attention in Ohio County Schools, almost forgotten is a $42.2 million school bond issue set to go before voters in the May 8 primary election.

Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller told those at the Ohio County Board of Education meeting this week the school district would get through the work stoppage, and announced plans to begin pushing the school district’s plans to improve facilities.

“I know we will get through this together, and I’m moving forward with the bond issue,” she said.

Miller didn’t return calls seeking additional comment Tuesday.

Board meetings in the coming weeks will be moved to school facilities, where the public will get the opportunity to learn about proposed improvements to that specific school. Projects and future plans for the school building will be discussed at each location.

The public will be able to tour the buildings beginning at 5 p.m., with the regular board meeting then commencing at 6 p.m. The meetings have been scheduled for March 12 at Triadelphia Middle School; March 26, at Bridge Street Middle School; April 9 at the Warwood School; April 23 at Wheeling Middle School; and May 7 at Wheeling Park High School.

These sessions at the school facilities should give the community a chance to discover just what vision Ohio County Schools has for its future, according to Miller.

The $42.2 million levy would be collected over 15.5 years, and would be used to pay for $75,549,900 in building improvements across the school district. Bond counsel is figuring into the mix a potential $27 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority, as well as a potential $6,349,000 savings in energy costs to fund the overall project.

The order lists the total property valuation in Ohio County at $2,511,311,839, and states the bonds to be issued are not more than 5 percent of that value.

All school facilities would receive upgrades if the bond is passed.

Among these are plans at Wheeling Park High School to expand the front entrance to provide for additional security measures, and to construct a new stairwell creating direct access to the current media center at the school.

Turning the current wrestling room into a music room also is being considered, as is moving vice principals’ offices to the second floor.

Expansion of cafeterias at Steenrod and Woodsdale elementary schools is on the list, as is combining the separate kitchens for the middle school and elementary school sections at the Warwood School.

A major renovation is planned at Middle Creek Elementary, and Madison Elementary School would get a new roof. The WVSBA has said it would not approve funding for a roof for the 101-year-old building, and this money would have to come from locally generated funds.