Budget Focus As WPHS Upgrades Start

Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones, left, and board of education members Christine Carder and David Croft, listen to discussion at Monday’s board of education meeting.

WHEELING — A project to renovate and expand Wheeling Park High School hasn’t gone out to bid yet, but costs are already expected to be over budget, according to Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones.

Representatives of PCS Estimating Services plan to tell the school district Wednesday what they think the overall renovations will cost.

After this, school officials, and representatives of PCS and project engineers McKinley and Associates, will sit down for a work session to see how the price tag can be reduced.

That meeting has been tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 18.

“I do think we’re going to be over budget at Park to start, which we knew,” Jones said. “I’m hoping we can get a work session scheduled with McKinley to talk about why some things may be over budget, and make some decisions on what we’re going to do to move forward.”

Sean Doyle, a field representative with McKinley, said he is confident the numbers can be reduced.

There have been many meetings to discuss the renovations, according to Jones. Among the improvements will be three separate additions — one to build a new wrestling room, one to construct a storage facility at the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center, and an expansion of the front entrance to the high school.

Much of the talk has centered on the placement of science classrooms, and how the current media center will be transformed into innovation spaces where students can gather to work on collaborative projects.

“It’s going to be really nice — really functional,” Jones told Ohio County Board of Education members Monday night. “It will be a place for innovative teaching, and a place to leave your classroom for really cool, aesthetic areas when you have a special project.

“There’s a collaboration room in there with a coffee shop feel.”

There will be coffee available there, he said. There also will be booths set up around the area for students to gather.

“I think we’re really close to sharing some drawings and renditions of what we’re going to to do,” Jones said.

Elsewhere in the district, the furniture for the innovation space at Ritchie Elementary is expected to arrive later this week, and an official opening of the space is close to happening, he said.


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