School Problems Out of Public Eye

MOUNDSVILLE – After meeting behind closed doors for more than two hours Monday, the Marshall County Board of Education chose not to act on recommended change orders at the new Cameron High/Middle School complex.

However, officials said the conversation held in executive session also touched on the budget for the project, which is now almost a year behind the original completion date.

According to Superintendent Fred Renzella, the private session was called to allow the board and representatives from Project and Construction Services and McKinley and Associates to discuss financial matters associated with the project, as well as discuss individuals associated with the project and their performance.

“We were discussing on-the-job issues that arise on any job site and need resolution,” Renzella said. “The turnaround on that has been very fast, and that will allow us to expedite the project.”

Additionally, Renzella said officials discussed the budget for the project. He said because the new completion date of Dec. 18 is 14 months later than the original date, the cost of the project has also increased, putting it over the initial budget. Because of that, officials must determine who is responsible for those extra costs.

The $31.4 million project is being paid for through West Virginia School Building Authority funds and money taken from a school bond passed by voters in support of projects across the district.

“We are looking at change orders and what that cost might be,” Renzella said. “Ultimately, we will have to determine who is responsible, but now the main goal is getting the building open by Dec. 18.”

The West Virginia Open Government Proceedings Act stipulates a governing body can meet in executive session for a number of reasons, including “to discuss any material the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy such as any records, data, reports, recommendations … pertaining to any specific individual admitted to or served by the institution or program.”

After unanimously voting to enter into executive session just after 7:30 p.m., the board met behind closed doors until 9:37 p.m. Board of Education President Roger Lewicki said the new business requesting a vote on the proposed change orders needed to be tabled until more information could be obtained by PCS and McKinley.

“We can’t do that here tonight,” he said after the board again voted unanimously to table the issue. “It can come up again later, but it is in our best interest to not make any decision.”

Officials said the project is still adhering to the new schedule. Lewicki said the matter could be addressed at a meeting in the next calendar month.