Madison School Construction Underway

Fencing and asphalt are being placed outside Madison Elementary School.

Madison School is set to have a renovated playground and central office area before students return to the classrooms next month, but additional work happening there likely will stretch to the end of the year.

This week, construction crews could be seen demolishing the playground, preparing it for asphalt and new fencing.

Inside the building, the central office has been totally deconstructed and reconfigured to accommodate office space for the principal, guidance counselor, secretary and prevention resource office.

There’s still much more work to be done, but crews have assured school officials the office and playground areas will be usable by the time school starts on Aug. 15.

“It should be done in a month’s time — unless they’re lying to me,” Ohio County Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said.

Madison Elementary School celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016.

Upgrades at the school are expected to cost about $5 million, and will be paid for entirely through funds generated by a $42.2 million bond issue passed by Ohio County voters last year. No state money will be involved, as the West Virginia School Building Authority has denied contributing funds to the project because the structure lies within a flood zone.

Work at Madison calls not just for the playground and office upgrades, but also a new roof and windows, and the establishment of a parking area for teachers on the west side of the school.

A new entrance facing Zane Street is to be constructed, though students will continue to be dropped off at the start of the day at the current entrance on North Broadway Street. After completion of the new entrance, the North Broadway Street entrance will be locked down once the school day has started.

A sidewalk will be constructed leading visitors from North Broadway Street to the Zane Street entrance.

The new entrance is being constructed with a “man trap” to increase security at the school. A large set of steps is just inside the exterior doors, and a second set of interior doors will be installed at the top to keep visitors from immediately entering the school area.

Visitors will buzz to be allowed inside, and a glass window from the central office will look out into the man trap and entry area. The secretary will determine whether to allow the visitor access.

Existing architectural columns and details in the man trap area will not be disturbed by the renovation, said Brian Harto, director of maintenance.

The school’s kitchen area will be re-designed to allow for more storage, and a wheelchair lift will be installed, he said. Outside, there will be work to restore and preserve the building’s portico, and the popular “Madison Square Garden” at the school will see some updates.

Ohio County Schools also could acquire more property for the school, according to Jones. A lot across North Broadway Street at Maryland Street is for sale, and the school district is looking into the possibility of purchasing it, he said.

“It might be worth it for the future,” Jones said.

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