JMHS Work to Begin in Feb.

MOUNDSVILLE – Bids to renovate the entrance of John Marshall High School are planned to go out in February, officials announced at a Monday workshop meeting with the Marshall County Board of Education.

The project architect’s Silling Associates Inc. presented updated design plans for the first phase of the project, including a renovated front entrance, an enclosed walkway between the main building to the Performing Arts Center and updated science labs.

Officials said the three project designs would cost an estimated $7.75 million in total, but the price tag was not final since they were committed to identifying cost-saving measures while creating construction plans.

Officials suggested the board put out a $5 million bid in February to begin structural work on the front entrance before the summer and save the majority of the construction work for the summer while students are out.

Superintendent Michael Hince previously said the first year of the project will fulfill the requirements outlined by the West Virginia School Building Authority, including a $6.3 million renovation of the main building’s HVAC system along with renovating the front entrance and outside walkway, upgrading the building’s doors, windows, flooring, ceilings, lighting, restrooms and science rooms; improving labs and technology; and performing an asphalt overlay and abatement.

Board member John Miller expressed concern with the entrance design, saying the all glass entrance would allow a potential shooter to see the activity inside of the school.

“We put so much emphasis on safety, as we should, but if someone had a weapon and there’s a stairway there and it’s made of glass, are we exposing our students?” Miller said. “Are we protecting our students?”

Officials from Project and Construction Services and Silling said the glass on the entrance would be shatterproof and tinted so outsiders could not see in during the day. Board member Tom Gilbert said the glass could potentially help during an active shooter situation since people in the front office would be able to see someone trying to gain entrance and could react more quickly.

Miller also said he was concerned about using transparent materials in the ceiling of the front walkway, as people will be able to see any debris that may collect on top.