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Jefferson Co. school plans unveiled

September 01, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Building a second high school, a new vocational technical center and renovating Jefferson High School will cost between $38.9 million and $39.8 million, the Jefferson County Board of Education learned Tuesday night.

Jefferson High School is about 250 students over capacity and the board is considering building a new high school to handle future student growth.

An advisory committee has also suggested that the county establish its own vocational technical school.

On Tuesday, Superintendent of Schools David W. Markoe presented the board with two different plans to pay for the two new schools and renovations to Jefferson High.

The first proposal, referred to as Plan A, would cost $38.9 million, including $27.3 million for a second high school. It designates $5.6 million for renovations to the existing high school and $5.9 million for the proposed Career Technical Center, which would be in a separate building.Plan B, which Markoe favors, would cost about $900,000 more, but would include 14 new classrooms for Jefferson High. Plan B also calls for the Career Technical Center to be in the existing high school. "Wing A" of the high school would be renovated to make room for the vocational school.

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The cost for the second high school would be the same under Plan B.

Markoe said he favors Plan B because it would make Jefferson High School an attractive facility, which is important because it should be comparable to the new high school.

"I think the kids that don't get the opportunity to go to the new high school will feel pretty good about staying at Jefferson High School," Markoe said.

The next step should be going to the state School Building Authority and determining how much funding they could award for the proposals, said board member Pete Dougherty.

Dougherty suggested asking the building authority for $8 million to pay for the renovation of Jefferson High and trying for a local bond issue to pay for the rest of the costs.

Some officials have suggested that the board of education consider holding a bond referendum this fall, but board members said it could be early next year before a referendum is held.

No site has been selected for a second high school, although school officials have been considering locating it around the Charles Town Bypass, Markoe said.

If the Career Technical Center is constructed as a separate building, it could be located away from either high school, situated perhaps on the T.A. Lowery Elementary property in Bardane, school officials said.

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