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Another school site in sight for Berkeley County

June 20, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Schools officials say they are close to completing a deal to purchase 22 acres near Gerrardstown for a new intermediate school.

Superintendent of Schools Manny Arvon told the Berkeley County Board of Education members Wednesday night that he expects to close on the purchase Monday.

Arvon declined to say who owns the property or what the school system will pay for the land because negotiations are continuing.

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"They're giving us a real nice price for it," Arvon said.

The site, which is now orchard land, is between Gerrardstown and Interstate 81, Arvon said.

Arvon said the new school, which will have a capacity for about 450 students, is needed for several reasons.

First, Arvon said he has been concerned about students being forced to travel from the Back Creek area to their current intermediate school, which is Mill Creek Intermediate along U.S. 11 near Bunker Hill.

Second, Mill Creek Intermediate is close to capacity with 650 students, and the new intermediate school will free up space in Mill Creek for growth, Arvon said.

The feeder schools for the new school will be Gerrardstown Elementary School and Back Creek Elementary School.

It will cost about $5 million to construct the school, which should be completed about 2006, said Arvon.

The school system does not have the money to build the school, and will probably ask the state School Building Authority for the funding, Arvon said.

Local school officials have been staying busy in recent years building new schools to keep up with the county's fast growth rate.

A 10-year comprehensive facilities plan aimed at studying ways to provide adequate school space for the growing county was recently completed, Queen said.

That plan said at least $93 million will be needed to build enough schools in the county over the next 10 years.

The study estimated the county's student population will grow by 3,500 students by 2010, and that by 2015, Berkeley County will surpass Kanawha County as the largest school system in the state.

Earlier this month, Arvon announced the future site and purchase of property for the new Spring Mills Middle School, which he said will be a part of an educational campus that will consist of an intermediate, a middle and a high school along with numerous athletic fields.

The new middle school will be built within the next 18 months on 20 acres located off W.Va. 11 behind Potomack Intermediate School near Marlowe, W.Va., Arvon said.

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