First Phase of $23 Million Renovation Project at Wheeling Park High School Nearing Completion
WHEELING – Students will be entering Wheeling Park High School through new doors sometime in January.
The first phase of a $23 million construction project is almost ready, with a new addition and entryway at the front of the school nearly complete.
“The new entrance will conservatively be open in a month, but hopefully it will be ready in the next two weeks,” Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said. “There are dampers in the addition that have not been installed yet. Once that is done and the fire marshal gives his blessing, it will be open.”
Heating and ventilation work within the new space also has to be completed, according to Jones. The addition will house the administrative offices, as well as work space for assistant principals and the attendance officer, he said. There is also a new conference room.
A new stairwell in the addition leads upstairs toward the current media center. At the top of the stairs are technology and child nutrition offices, as well as a teachers lounge and a school store.
“In the next two weeks, we will be moved into the new addition. That’s critical for us,” Jones explained.
“The secretaries and the main office are in different places. Moving them back into the main office frees up places for our counselors to go, and we can start working on their offices.”
Already completed at the school is another addition housing the wrestling room. That space is completed and being used, though some doors still need to be installed there, according to Jones. The former wrestling room has become a music room, and is home to strings classes.
Some science classrooms have received upgrades, while others are still being completed, he said.
“The renovation of the science rooms is ongoing,” Jones said. “We’re making progress, but we don’t have an end date for that.”
Next up will be a reconstruction of the current media center, which is being eliminated and made into three separate areas — a large maker space, a group testing spot, and a round meeting room.
Jones said the room is intended as a “cooperation space” where teachers and students can gather and everyone is equal for discussion.
“We have temporary classrooms in there now,” he said. “Once the science rooms are done, they can move out of there and go to their new classrooms and we can start work on the media center.”
The new administrative offices being constructed all have glass walls opening into the central hallway, and all activity within the offices and in the hallways will be mutually visible.
An area where school lockers were placed is now set up as a “robotics arena” used by robotics classes and the robotics team.
A lighted “WPHS” graces the top of the exterior of the new addition, and welcomes visitors to the school. The Wheeling Park High School letters that previously graced the front of the building have been moved inside, and line the newly built stairwell inside the front entrance.
The $23 million in building projects is part of a $76 million district-wide upgrade of buildings in Ohio County Schools, with $44 million of the amount approved by voters through a levy passed in 2018. The West Virginia School Building Authority provided another $27 million, and the remainder is expected to be off-set through energy saving.
The $23 million price tag for renovations at WPHS does not include an additional $3.5 million spent to construct a new athletic field there. There has also been discussion of buying new turf for the existing baseball field at $1.2 million outside of bond funding.
Jones said all construction at the high school is expected to be completed by the end of this coming summer.