Area schools get state support

December 27, 2001

Area schools get state support

Martinsburg, W.Va.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

Berkeley and Morgan counties will get enough money to renovate and build new schools for their growing systems following announcements Monday from the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Jefferson County, which already received $10.6 million to build a new ninth-grade school plus other projects, did not receive any money.

Gov. Bob Wise announced more than $55 million in SBA funds to build and restore schools in 17 counties.

Five new schools will be built and about 15 others will be renovated or expanded in projects funded by the authority.


County school systems' requests had totaled $200 million.

The board was able to meet more needs than usual, thanks to $25 million worth of expected proceeds from the 9,000 video lottery machines legalized by Gov. Bob Wise and the Legislature earlier this year.

Berkeley and Morgan counties will add their SBA money to local school construction funds.

Berkeley County will spend $4.3 million in SBA money for additions and renovations to Hedgesville High School, Frank Aliveto, an assistant superintendent, said.

County taxpayers passed a $27 million school bond issue in September.

Two new schools are among the projects it will fund, Aliveto said.

A new middle school will be built in the Spring Mills area in northern Berkeley County to take the pressure off Hedgesville Middle, which is bursting at the seams with more than 1,000 students, Aliveto said.

The county also will build a new intermediate school for grades four and five in the Gerrardstown-Back Creek area.

The bond issue will also finance extensive renovations at the following schools:

n Hedgesville Elementary, a K-2 school that was built in the 1950s.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> South Middle School in Martinsburg.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Back Creek Elementary, a K-3 school in the county's southwest section.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Martinsburg High School, which will get renovations and more classrooms.

Steve Paine, superintendent of Morgan County schools, said the $2.8 million in SBA money will help to pay for a new elementary school on the same 100-acre, Warm Springs Road site where the county's new middle school opened a few years ago.

The new elementary school will hold 490 students pre-K through grade 5, Paine said. North Berkeley Elementary, which houses 300 students in grades K-1, will be closed. Widmeyer Elementary School with 550 students in grades 2-5, will convert to K-5 after the new school is built.

In addition to SBA money, local taxpayers authorized a $1 million local levy. The school board also signed interest-free federal bonds for $1 million that will have to be repaid over 10 years.

Jefferson County is spending some of its $10.6 million in SBA money received last year on its new ninth-grade school building scheduled to open in September across the road from Jefferson High School.

Part of that money will be spent on high school renovations and a new roof for Page Jackson Elementary School, Jefferson County Interim Superintendent Jud Romine said.

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