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Ohio County Board of Education Members Get a Look at Renovations at Steenrod Elementary School

Photo by Joselyn King ABOVE: Ohio County Board of Education member Pete Chacalos, left, and Superintendent Kim Miller test out the new maker space at Steenrod Elementary School.

WHEELING — Ohio County Board of Education members and the public got their first look this week at a renovated Steenrod Elementary School.

The board convened its regular meeting at the school Monday night, and prior to the event members got a tour of upgrades at the facility.

Improvements at Steenrod were paid for through a $42.2 million bond issue passed by voters in 2018, and are part of an overall $76 million in property upgrades happening in Ohio County Schools.

Among the renovations at Steenrod are an improved drop-off and bus loading area, a new cafeteria, lighting and security enhancements, new flooring, a new roof, and HVAC and electrical systems upgrades.

Board of education members also got a look at the school’s new maker space where students will work together to create projects.

Renovations were estimated at $2.29 million, and came in at about that mark, according to Steven Bieniek, business manager for Ohio County Schools.

Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones explained the new cafeteria might be the most important and appreciated part of the renovation, as previously students ate in an area that serves as the school’s gymnasium.

Too often there wasn’t time to clean up the floors after lunch prior to the start of physical education classes, and students sometimes did floor exercises amid food debris.

There are now more opportunities for using the gymnasium throughout the day, according to Principal Michelle Dietrich. Preschool is now coming in for physical education classes, and the gym will be used for recess during inclimate weather.

The school now has a “family feel,” Dietrich explained. Some of the classrooms toured by board members featured curtains, plants, rugs and reading areas attractive to young readers.

“The add-on of the new carpeting in the classrooms was a huge gift,” she told board members. “Because we were able to come in under budget on some things, that gave us a little bit of money to play with.

“All of the grade levels (now have new carpeting). The duct tape was starting to get faded. We needed new carpet and it looks fantastic.”

Inside the school, the media center previously took in water whenever there was heavy rain, and that has been addressed.

An exterior door was removed and replaced with a window. A second exterior door, meanwhile, was installed at another location and raised by more than three feet off the classroom floor. Steps then were built up to access the door.

The garden area also is very important to Steenrod Elementary, according to Dietrich.

“It’s devastating when we get flooded because the garden gets flooded,” she explained.

A fundraiser dinner to benefit the playground and outdoor areas is scheduled for Sept. 24 at the Sonneborn Shelter. Those wishing to attend should contact the school at 304-243-0356 for tickets.

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