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Jefferson school project to go to bid

January 16, 2001

Jefferson school project to go to bid



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County school officials will be able to determine whether there will be cost overruns for a new middle school when the project is put out for bid in coming weeks.

The West Virginia School Building Authority has provided $7.4 million for the school, which will be built adjacent to Jefferson High School.

But school officials have learned that the cost of the school may be up to $1.2 million more than initial estimates.

It is possible the Jefferson County Board of Education could receive a bid to do the work that would be close to the original estimate, school officials said Monday.

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If the bids top $7.4 million, Superintendent of Schools David W. Markoe said he will meet with School Building Authority officials about new funding avenues.

Local lawmakers have also been trying to find additional revenue for the project, but have been unsuccessful, said board member Doris Cline.

The School Board probably will be ready to put the middle school out for bid in about two weeks, said board member Pete Dougherty. The bidding period will run about 60 days, he said.

Finding funding for Jefferson County's school construction needs has been getting increased attention since voters turned down a proposed $39 million bond issue in September and the School Building Authority turned down a request from the school system for $20 million which would have been used to build a new high school.

In a meeting two weeks ago with the Board of Education, state Del. Dale Manuel, D-Jefferson, proposed taking a share of slot machine revenue at the Charles Town Races to give the school system the money it needs.

Although the idea had some support, state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, said he worried about the state looking for additional gambling proceeds to fund public education.

School officials have been working on last-minute details for the new middle school, such as design of music areas.

The school's music teacher wanted separate rooms for vocal and instrumental music. There will be a separate room for instrumental music, but vocal music classes will be held in a stage area in the cafeteria, Markoe said. The vocal class area will be separated from the cafeteria by a movable wall, Markoe said.

School board members said there has been concern about whether the movable wall effectively will block noise between the two rooms.

The vocal room had to be designed that way to conform to School Building Authority standards, Dougherty said.

"Since we're doing it with their money, we pretty much have to do it by their guidelines," Dougherty said.

Markoe said the arrangement is favorable because few other schools of similar size have separate instrumental and vocal rooms.

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