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Work Winding Down At Triadelphia Middle School

Construction Coming In Slightly Over Budget

Photos by Joselyn King Workers continue to complete work at Triadelphia Elementary School before students return in August.

WHEELING — All work to expand and renovate Triadelphia Middle School is expected to be completed by the time students return in August, but construction is coming in slightly over budget.

Figures provided by Steven Bieniek, business manager for Ohio County Schools, show the budget had been $8,793,480, and the final cost will be $185,642 above that. This puts the total price tag at $8,979,122.

“That’s 2% over, so not bad,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones.

Work at Triadelphia is part of a $76 million district-wide property improvement plan underway in Ohio County Schools. Voters in 2018 passed a $42.2 million bond issue to pay for much of the work, with $27 million coming from the West Virginia School Building Authority and additional cost savings being realized through energy improvements.

Sunlight streams through the expansive windows of the newly constructed school cafeteria, where students at lunchtime soon will be able to gaze out not just on the neighboring Steenrod Elementary School but WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital in the distance.

The cafeteria is on the second floor of a new two-story addition that also will house many of the school’s music programs, which are presently in the building’s annex. Band, chorus and strings classrooms are in the new addition, as are a maker space and a technology education woodshop.

Original plans had called for the annex building to be demolished once construction of the annex was complete.

But the annex building will continue to stand for now, school officials have said.

The addition also was to have a third story where science classes were to take place.

That idea was scrapped, and instead science rooms inside the main building were updated.

They received new furniture, additional storage, and sinks will be installed, according to Assistant Principal Drew Villani.

The back stairways in the main building leading to the auditorium have been eliminated and rebuilt.

Paul Keznor, construction superintendent with Waller Construction, is in charge at the work site and has 50 years of experience in the business. He is confident all construction will be completed by the time school starts.

“When you do a building, there will be hiccups,” Keznor said. “It isn’t a problem. It’s a hiccup.”

If work can’t be done in the planned sequence, the sequence is just changed and work still continues, he said.

Interior work still needs finished, and electricians are running conduit and wire and installing lights, he said. The last bricks and blocks are being laid, and there is also some framing of the walls being done for drywall.

Keznor called it “controlled chaos” that is typical near the end of a project.

“It will get crazier until the end,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Contractors were able to make progress on the project this year while students learned at home.

Principal Ann Coleman commended Keznor and his crew for working around the school’s schedule to get the work done. In turn, Keznor praised the school for abiding by the rules of the construction site when asked.

“It has been a pleasure working for Ohio County Schools,” he said. “I would do it again.”

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