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Fire Marshal OKs Cameron School

Officials say building will be ready for Jan. 3 classes

December 14, 2012
By J.W. JOHNSON JR. Marshall County Bureau Chief , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

CAMERON - To say Allen Street had concerns when he took over as project superintendent of the new Cameron High School in July would be a tremendous understatement.

Employed by Project and Construction Services, Street walked into a project that was nearly a year behind schedule and that had recently been given a new completion date of Dec. 18 with more than 450 tasks remaining before that date.

"I've been in this business for 40 years, and I didn't think there was any chance we would get it done," he said Thursday evening while sitting in what will be the cafeteria area at the school during a Marshall County Board of Education workshop.

Article Photos

Photos by J.W. Johnson Jr.
Marshall County Schools Superintendent Fred Renzella, from left, board of education members Tom Gilbert, Roger Lewicki, Lori Kestner, Beth Phillips, John Miller and Assistant Superintendent Wayne Simms discuss the opening of the new Cameron High School on Thursday.

Originally scheduled to be held in the football locker room at the school, the meeting was moved into the new building after a West Virginia fire marshal determined that the building is safe and up to code.

"We've received approval to occupy this building," Street said.

All safety measures are functional and were approved, including the fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Teachers and staff could begin moving items into the building as soon as next week, although students will not yet be permitted inside.

"Because of the debris and equipment that is still in here and needs cleaned up, we want to take every safety precaution," Street said.

A Dec. 27 completion date has been set for any outstanding tasks, with the fire marshal returning to the school to review the main gymnasium and the lighting in the auditorium, which were the only sections not approved Thursday. Street said the goal is to ensure that every section of the school is ready for students when they move in Jan. 3. Furniture will continue to arrive next week as that move-in date comes closer.

Some additional work will be completed after students move in, though those tasks were described as "odds and ends," cleaning and final walk-throughs. Officials also will discuss logistics and ways to ensure students are not overwhelmed by the new building and can focus on learning in the coming weeks.

Street attributed the ability to get the project finished according to the new timeline to the hard work of the contractors, whom he said worked tirelessly to stay on track. Members of the board also took time to thank the contractors for their work.

"This is a milestone right here," said board of education President Roger Lewicki regarding the approval. "It feels like a lot of weight was just lifted off our shoulders. We appreciate your hard work, and we appreciate the residents of Cameron for their patience with this project."

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Fred Renzella echoed Lewicki, adding that he is thankful to the West Virginia School Building Authority for providing more than $30 million from state lottery funds to help build the new school.

The board also met behind closed doors to discuss legal matters for 25 minutes before taking a tour of the building.

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