Ohio County School Bond Passes With Flying Colors

Photo by Scott McCloskey Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller smiles after hearing final results of Tuesday’s primary election, during which voters passed a $42.2 million school bond levy for the county.

WHEELING — Ohio County voters indicated Tuesday they want upgraded school facilities, and they’re willing to pay $42.2 million for them.

A bond issue to improve all school properties within Ohio County Schools passed by a vote of 4,888 to 3,154. Voters will now pay $42.2 million over the next 15 years toward $75.5 million in construction projects.

The school district is expected to apply to the State School Building Authority for another $27 million, and an additional $6.35 million is expected to be realized through energy-saving improvements that will help defray yearly utility costs for Ohio County Schools.

Superintendent Kim Miller admitted she was a bit nervous about the bond’s fate on Tuesday.

“But now I’m so excited,” she said following the results. “We have a great appreciation for the community’s support, and we’re ready to move forward.

“It was a great step in the right direction,” she said. “We’re very grateful to have the support of a community that supports education. Now the work begins.”

The long list of proposed construction projects is expected to take about three years, and work starts today, according to Miller.

School officials will be meeting to put together a prioritized list of projects, and when these will take place. Roofing jobs will be at the top of the list, and the district will look “to make these happen” over the summer,” she said.

While all schools within Ohio County Schools will see updates, many of the improvements are set for Wheeling Park High School. The school will see about $24 million in upgrades as a result of the bond’s passage.

Among these are plans for the construction of a two-story 4,000 square foot addition at the front of the school. This will include construction security entrance, with a stairwell and elevator leading directly the current media center.

The 13,500 square foot media center is expected to be reconfigured into “maker spaces” — places for students to congregate to work on projects. Nearly 12,500 square feet of science labs will be reconfigured.

There will be two other additions to the school constructed to provide storage at the performance arts center, and create a wrestling room area. The current wrestling room will be renovated and become a place for music and performance arts classes.

Triadelphia Middle School, built in 1917, also will see a major change.

The school’s annex will be demolished and a 22,250 square foot, three-story addition connected to the main building will 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.