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Comprehensive plan calls for school closings, renovations, consolidations

Officials: Wood County BOE still has to vote on changes
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -In 2019, Wood County’s Board of Education permanently closed three elementary school buildings.

Several more could be closed, under a recently-completed “Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan” for the new decade.

The plan outlined Tuesday night to the board of education, calls for the reduction of school buildings from 24 to 20 by the end of this decade.

It also calls for construction of at least on elementary school building during the next 10 years, and renovations to an existing elementary.

It anticipates the passage of two bond issues, and funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority.

All told, the planned projects and renovations total more than $107.5 million.

“I think it’s important for people to know decisions on these projects have not been made," Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling said Wednesday. "They’re a plan for us to try to get to and follow. There will come a time when we present those projects to the public, and say. ‘we’re going to move forward with this’. We’ll have to have their support in order for this to work.”

Some highlights from the plan:

-Combining six elementary schools into three-Vienna and Neale elementaries, Criss and Emerson elementaries, and Fariplains and Franklin elementaries. That part of the plan also anticipates construction of new buildings for all of the combined schools.

-Construction of a new Lubeck Elementary, along with renovations and an addition at Madison Elementary.

-A proposal that’s been made before: the closing of Van Devender Middle School, with its students transferred to Jackson Middle School.

Fling notes closing Van Devender was proposed in the previous 10-year comprehensive education plan. Its closing also was discussed in 2019, but it was not on the final list slated for closing.

The Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan will be up for discussion at the board of education’s meeting next Tuesday, October 27. Fling emphasizes the final decision on closings and changes by the board will come some time in the future.

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