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More Projects at Washington Lands Elementary Oncoming

MOUNDSVILLE – The Marshall County School District returned from the holiday break with several projects done or nearing completion, but a larger overhaul to Washington Lands Elementary is just getting started.

Facilities Director Michael Price spoke at Tuesday evening’s Board of Education meeting, held at the Washington Lands school, which provided a backdrop to his comments regarding improvements the school would be undertaking. Wielding a large schematic of the school, Price detailed security improvements the school would be receiving, including the removal of numerous exterior doors, one of which was in the room that held Tuesday’s board meeting.

The first phase of the security project focused on the hallways, doors and windows of the school, replacing windows with security glass, and within the school, blocking off some entries to the “pods” that comprise the school, creating more choke points in the event of a lockdown. While Washington Lands, like all schools in the district, has a lockdown plan in place, the district is working to modernize the building’s layout, constructed with an “open plan” in 1976.

Price said the bid package for the first phase of the work will go out in early to mid-February, and may near completion at the start of the next school year.

“We hope to have a contractor by mid-March, they can start ordering doors and windows, because doors and windows need some of the longest lead times,” he said.

Price said the doors served a purpose when the building was constructed in the 1970s, but updated fire and safety codes have led to the district wanting to modernize the building, which is one of the last in the district to do so.

“There’s so many exterior door failures here, you know we’re in dire need of having these go away. That’s one of our biggest maintenance, is taking care of these doors, the hardware, the closers, these are the things that fail on us the most, and cost us a lot of money,” he said, gesturing to the exterior door in the back of the room. “That right there, that may be going away, and be just one big window, stationary and secure glass.”

“… This is a justifiable project, for sure, to make sure we secure our building down first.”

Following that large step, Price hopes that by the holiday season they can start looking at a new addition to the Washington Lands building, in the form of a large, multipurpose room. This room would serve as, among other things, potential storage and a gymnasium area. The school currently uses one room for the gymnasium and cafeteria, with tables being quickly rolled out and floors mopped down for lunch before being stowed by custodians for the afternoon gym classes.

Price also mentioned that work on several other projects throughout the county had finished, or are nearing completion. New hot water tanks at Sherrard Middle School had been installed over the holiday, and foundation had been laid down on a new playground at Hilltop Elementary, which is slated to complete in three weeks. Renovations to the Cameron fieldhouse are scheduled for a final walkthrough by the fire marshal on Friday, and work on Cameron Elementary was fully complete.

“With all the craziness going on, I think we’ve done pretty good, and it’s looking great,” he said.

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