OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – It may be summer break, but Ohio County Schools have been hard at work.
Some buildings will be transformed from construction zones back to classrooms just in time to welcome back students.
A list of projects were made possible by the $42.2 million school bond levy.
While projects won’t be done at all schools this summer, many of them received some sort of upgrade.
“We’re trying to do a whole lot of things at once,” said Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones.
This summer marks the first of three phases of work funded by the levy. Projects at schools include:
- Security upgrades, new office areas, new flooring and ceilings, new windows and innovation spaces at Madison Elementary
- A new HVAC system, adding air conditioning to the weight room and Gym C and new bleachers at Wheeling Park
- New bleachers and ADA updates at Triadelphia Middle
- New bleachers at Wheeling Middle
- A new office and entrance flooring, new windows, innovative spaces, outdoor work, a new gym and cafeteria and more at Bridge Street Middle
- A new roof and geothermal system for heating and cooling at Elm Grove Elementary
- A new geothermal system at Middle Creek Elementary
- New roofing for Steenrod Elementary
All the improvements coming to Ohio County Schools can be broken down into three categories; technology, energy efficiency and safety, which was a high priority for parents.
Upgraded doors, new windows, improved locks and new safety practices are just some of the ways each of the county’s 13 buildings will address safety by the end of the three-year project.
“They will have to be buzzed in,” Jones explained of the process when visitors arrive to the school. “Once they get buzzed in they will be trapped in an area before we let them in. Then once they come in through there they’ll go through an office. They won’t just have access to the entire school like they’ve had before.”
Starting this year each student in grades six though 12 will also have a chrome book.
“Every teacher from 6 though 12 will have a chrome book and teachers are learning how to use those as a tool to help better engage students,” Jones said.
And they’re creating new innovative spaces to encourage creativity.
“Where kids can go in there and build things and make a mess and do 3-D printers and robotics and all the things we’re trying to do in our school system,” Jones continued.
This was just the first of three phases made possible by the levy.
In addition to the $42.2 million levy, the School Building Authority of West Virginia also contributed $9 million this year. Ohio County Schools plans to ask them for an additional $9 million in the coming two years to finish out the list of projects.
When you combine the bond and a county-wide energy saving project, about $70 million in upgrades will be put into the facilities.
“We know there’s a lot more to come,” Jones said. “So we’re gonna approach this challenge in a positive way.”