Ohio County BOE Probes Project Figures

WHEELING — Unexpected costs are creeping up as Ohio County Schools embarks on $76 million in school improvement projects.

This week, members of the board of education discussed the options for heating and ventilation systems at Triadelphia Middle School. The budget for the HVAC system there had been set at $1.3 million. The initial cost for a proposed geo-thermal system, meanwhile, came in a $2.7 million. Members have rejected that proposal.

This week, the board discussed alternatives to keep the 20-year-old system as is, or to spend extra dollars to upgrade it and replace ventilator units in the classrooms. The school had been slated for a two-story addition, which already has been scaled back from a three-story addition.

Maintaining the current system as-is, without upgrades, would cost $1.1 million — about $200,000 less than what was budgeted, according to Sean Doyle, a field representative with McKinley and Associates. Replacing the units would cost an extra $680,000, and bring the project $480,000 over budget, he said. In the end, board members passed a motion directing HVAC consultant CMTA and McKinley and Associates to create a master plan determining what units need replacing and when.

They then will work in the coming years outside of bond projects to finance the replacement of the units.

They agreed that no unit near the end of its life should be refurbished.

Board members also will consider the unseen additional costs of constructing a science wing at Wheeling Park High School that would place all science classrooms and labs in one area on the second floor.

Missing from the plan were two additional chemistry rooms on the first floor, and the cost of moving them wasn’t determined. The move could cost as much as $1 million, according to Doyle.

Teachers at the school have said they would prefer to leave the science classrooms as they are than to expand them but not bring all closer together for efficiency, said Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones.

Members indicated they would further discuss the issue at future meetings.


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