Ohio County School Officials Begin Making Levy Pitch to Voters

The annex building at Triadelphia Middle School would be replaced with a three-story structure connected to the main building if voters pass a bond levy on May 8. Photo by Joselyn King

WHEELING — The future for Ohio County Schools could begin with additions to Triadelphia Middle School and Steenrod Elementary Schools, and starting an hour later on Friday mornings.

School officials invited the public Monday to Triadelphia Middle where they kicked off a series of informational meetings to explain a $42.2 million school bond set to go before voters on May 8.

Technology came up during the talk, with Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones saying Ohio County is working on a plan to provide students with their own laptop computers for school use. Teachers would need to be trained in how to coordinate the laptops into their curriculum, and officials have proposed for next year’s school calendar that the instructional day begin one hour later on Fridays.

The teachers would be instructed on the laptops during that time.

County school districts are required to provide 40 hours of professional development time to teachers, but there is no mandate on how this time must be offered.

Next year’s calendar is still being formulated, and the idea for the later start on Friday is still being discussed, according to Human Resource Director Susan Nolte.

Jones and Superintendent Kim Miller told of the district’s plans for renovating school properties at Triadelphia Middle School and Steenrod, Woodsdale and Madison elementary schools.

Triadelphia Middle School

Triadelphia Middle School, built in 1917, is celebrating its centennial this school year. Separate from the school is an annex constructed in 1922.

If the bond levy would pass, the annex would be demolished and a 22,250 square foot, three-story addition connected to the main building would be constructed. The site on which the annex sits would be turned into a parking area, and the service road would be reconfigured.

Inside the addition would be a 3,500 square-feet multi-purpose room for dining and additional physical education use, and a 2,800 square-foot kitchen. Music and choral rooms would be moved into the addition, and there would be art and science labs created there.

The roof, flooring and heating systems in the building would be replaced. New retractable bleachers also would be placed in the gymnasium.

Steenrod Elementary School

The cafeteria and gymnasium share the same space at Steenrod Elementary School, and that can create a problem, according to former student Reagan Olejasz.

Physical education classes can only take place in the afternoon, and those down on the floor doing sit-ups find themselves getting food in their hair, she explained.

Proposed renovations call for the construction of a 6,000 square-foot addition connected to the school for use as a cafeteria and multi-purpose room. This would free up the present cafeteria/gymnasium for physical education classes throughout the day, according to Jones.

Madison Elementary School

Because it’s in a flood zone, Madison Elementary on Wheeling Island “will rely heavily on the school bond’s passage,” Miller said.

The building is more than a century old, and the cost for a new roof is estimated at more than $1 million.

The front entrance to the school would get a new look and become the main entry to the school if the levy is passed, and a ramp or lift would be installed there to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Woodsdale Elementary School

A 1,600-square-foot addition would be constructed at Woodsdale Elementary to expand the cafeteria, and existing cafeteria and kitchen space would be renovated.

All exterior windows would be removed and replaced, as would some exterior doors.

Future Meetings

Details pertaining to other upgrades of buildings within Ohio County Schools will be discussed during additional informational meetings that have been scheduled.

These all will take place beginning at 5 p.m. on March 26 at Bridge Street Middle School; April 9 at the Warwood School; May 7 at Wheeling Park High School; and May 14 at Wheeling Middle School.

Discussions about the school calendar will take place at 5:30 p.m. following the building discussions at Bridge Street and Warwood schools.