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Renovations Begin At Wheeling Park High School

Photo by Joselyn King Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones points out where a stairwell will be constructed just inside the entrance to Wheeling Park HIgh School. Walls to rooms once located in the front of the school have been removed as the school district embarks on a $22 million renovation at WPHS.

WHEELING — When students return for in-person education at Wheeling Park High School this year, they won’t be walking through the front doors.

Exterior fencing now blocks entry into what was once the main entrance to the school as a $22 million renovation has begun at WPHS.

The project represents a significant part of the overall $76 million in construction happening within Ohio County Schools as part of a $42.2 million bond issue passed by voters.

This year, WPHS students will enter through “Door 15” — a two-door entrance just to the left of the main entrance — while the dust flies. The site looks as if it wouldn’t be habitable space by the time the school year begins Sept. 8, but Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said administrators will make it work so students can begin the year.

“I would think so,” he said. “Some things are slated to be completed by Dec. 1, but our timelines are flexible due to COVID-19.”

Once school starts, contractors will change their hours to accommodate students, he said.

New Principal Meredith Dailer no longer has an existing office. The walls to her office — and all the assistant principal and guidance counselor offices at the front of the school — were demolished this week. Remaining is just a large, open space.

A two-story addition is being constructed at the front of the school. Just inside a new front entrance will be a set of stairs so visitors can easily find the upstairs media center.

Most of the library books will be taken from the media center, which will be converted into three separate areas, Jones said.

One area will be a “maker space” where students can use technology tools to complete projects. A center area will provide spaces to meet as groups, and the third area will be used as a coffee shop style gathering area.

Across from the media center had been English classrooms, which have now been gutted. The open area eventually will become the site of technology offices for the school.

Lockers in the school are being eliminated, according to Jones. Students no longer have the need for them and aren’t using them as Chromebooks have replaced traditional textbooks.

Instead, the area the lockers occupy on the first floor likely will be converted into a display area for Wheeling Park history, Jones said.

An addition that will house the wrestling room also has been marked off outside the school. The current wrestling room will be converted into a strings room.

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