BOE Considers Bathroom Upgrades at Triadelphia Middle School

Ohio County Board of Education President Zach Abraham, left, and Superintendent Kim Miller listen to an update on bond construction happening in the district during Tuesday’s board meeting.

WHEELING — Bathrooms at Triadelphia Middle School are being made handicap accessible through bond levy money, and now Ohio County Board of Education members are considering using other funds to do a complete overhaul of the facilities.

Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones updated board members at their meeting Monday night on the status of the Triadelphia bathroom upgrades, reminding them these needed to be completed by the start of the school year to accommodate an incoming male student. Other students with special needs also are expected to be entering Triadelphia Middle School in the upcoming future, he said. The upgrades are mandated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It was only a few months ago that we realized we needed to do a whole lot of work to get Triadelphia up-to-date ADA-wise for a specific student who is coming,” Jones said. “He is an awesome kid, and we want to make him feel as comfortable as possible — and of course, future students as well.”

The necessary ADA upgrades are under way, and he thanked M&G Architects for quickly getting the job done. The removal of concrete walls is part of the work, according to Jones.

Both the male and female restrooms in the main building are being made handicapped accessible, and this work is being paid for through money from the $42.2 million school bond passed last year by voters.

“As we looked at these, we realized we are knocking out walls, putting in ramps and taking out flooring, and at the end of it we are still going to have restrooms that are really ugly and bad,” Jones said. “We asked M&G to please tell us what it would cost to do all of this — to just make everything brand new.

“Whether or not we do this today, we’re going to have to do this in the next five years.”

Jones showed photos showing the stalls, paint and plumbing in the restrooms, which were unsightly.

Work beyond the ADA compliance would not be covered under the bond, and the school district would have to find a way to pay for the changes.

Dan Grant Jr., vice president and director of architecture for M&G, told board members he did not have hard numbers on the cost just yet, but that he did expect the cosmetic work to add about 46 percent to the cost of the bathroom project.

Board member David Croft asked Grant if he expected the cost of the additional upgrade to increase in the coming years, and he said he did.

Grant said costs can generally increase 5 percent each year on the average, and could go up even more sharply in light of an anticipated construction labor shortage in the area.

Board members passed a motion to allow M&G to go ahead with design work by a vote of 4-0. Board President Zach Abraham and members Christine Carder and Croft voted in favor, as did Molly Aderholt — who participated in the meeting by phone. Member Sarah Koegler was not present.

Jones also informed board members that following energy upgrades in all school buildings, Ohio County Schools has received a $38,000 rebate on its utilities from using energy-efficient products. CMTA, the contractor installing the energy improvements, expects the district to receive $200,000 in rebates in the next three years.

“At some point in the future, I would like to have a discussion about earmarking those rebates for something that goes directly to students — whether it is STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) equipment … or something specific that can help our students county-wide.”

The Ohio County Board of Education next meets at 6 p.m. on July 22 at the board office, 2203 National Road, Elm Grove.

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