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School officials consider new central office

August 12, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

School officials said Tuesday they might consider building a new central office to replace the outdated facility at 820 Commonwealth Ave.

The building that houses the Washington County Board of Education has gradually been expanded over the years since 1938, when the first section was completed.

Water seeps into the transportation office on the basement level of the building during heavy rains and some offices are in portable classrooms that were not suitable for schools, said Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

Bartlett said school officials considered renovating the sprawling, one-story facility, but determined that would be "throwing good money after bad.""Generally, it's agreed that this is a tough facility to work in," said Bartlett.

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School board Vice President B. Marie Byers, during a Tuesday afternoon meeting between the school board and the Washington County Commissioners, said the central office is "archaic."

Later Tuesday, she said she believes there are other priorities, such as raising teachers' salaries, and renovating schools.

Byers said Bartlett's comments about the central office were a surprise.

Board member Edwin Hayes said Tuesday was the first time he had heard anything about a new board building.

But Hayes said he agrees changes are needed at the central office.

Hayes said he was in the transportation office Monday when water backed up in the room following an afternoon thunderstorm.

"I about croaked when I came around the corner," said Hayes.

The Washington County Commissioners, who took a tour of the Board of Education office, sympathized with school officials.

Commissioner Ronald Bowers said perhaps a developer would build a building for a new central office and lease it to the school board.

Or a new building could be built in phases, a step that would enable officials to spread out the cost of the project, said Bartlett.

"He just wanted to open the discussion," said Hayes, referring to Bartlett's comments. "We don't have anything on the drawing board."

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