Marshall Street project is delayed

January 07, 1997


Staff Writer

Plans to close the Washington County Job Development Center and move the program into a renovated Marshall Street School building are on hold until Washington County Board of Education members get all the information they've asked for, Board President B. Marie Byers said Tuesday.

"It's not completely off, but there are still many questions to answer," said Byers, who led a discussion on the facilities consolidation plan during the school board's first meeting of 1997.

Board members spent nearly two hours of the work session questioning staff-projected financial benefits of the plan and exploring other options to increase instructional time for Job Development Center students, who fall 47 minutes short of the state daily requirement.


The Job Development Center, which opened in 1972, provides vocational training for about 85 developmentally challenged students ages 14 to 21.

The Marshall Street School, which opened in 1976, serves about 40 students with severe disabilities that keep them from participating in school-based programs.

The consolidation plan - narrowly approved by the school board on Nov. 12 - included about $300,000 in renovations to the 44,000-square-foot Marshall Street School building so that both programs could be operating there starting in the 1997-1998 school year.

At that meeting, Board Vice President Robert L. Kline said he thought action should be delayed until the plan was given further thought. Both he and Byers cast dissenting votes.

Preliminary renovation work - consisting of putting up some partition walls - was scheduled to be completed over the recent holiday break, according to Dennis McGee, director of facilities management.

Work was halted after newly sworn-in board members Edwin Hayes and Andrew R. Humphreys expressed worries over funding for the project at a Dec. 10 board meeting.

If the school board decides to move ahead with the plan, it's probably too late to finish the work before the next school year starts, said Superintendent Wayne F. Gersen, who said he'd likely recommend the board delay the project for a year.

Maintaining separate facilities will cost the school system an estimated $2,478,955 over the next six years, according to information Gersen presented to school board members at the work session.

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