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Ninth-grade building pondered

September 09, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A new building that would house only ninth-grade students was proposed Tuesday by the Jefferson County Board of Education.

The plan was the latest idea in a series of discussions about expanding Jefferson High School.

School officials said the plan is the cheapest of three proposals, and is preferable because it does not add more students to the main building.

Concerns have been expressed about increasing the size of the current high school.

The school's capacity is 1,500, but could go to more than 2,000 if ninth-grade students are put in the building, Jefferson County Board of Education member Peter Morgens said following a meeting on Tuesday.

The school board is looking for additional land for the ninth-grade center, which would be built near the existing high school. The plan could be scrapped if land costs are too high, said Superintendent David W. Markoe.

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As a backup plan, the board would delete a new gym from a planned expansion of the high school and use the money for other improvements, such as additional classrooms, Markoe said.

The third proposal was an expansion of the high school that would include a new parking area and a bus loop. That plan would cost about $12 million.

The board now must get approval from the School Building Authority to go forward with one of the plans.

School officials want to expand Jefferson High to accommodate the county's 600 ninth-graders. The students would be moved into the school as part of the county's plan to move from a junior-high to a middle-school concept.

School officials are expecting continued growth in the student population of about 2 percent each year.

School officials began considering other ways of expanding Jefferson High School after three bids for expanding the school were higher than the cost estimates that were developed by school officials.

Building a separate ninth-grade complex would cost between $10.1 million and $10.8 million and the backup plan would cost about $11.1 million, the amount of money available for the project.

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