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Bond OK'd, officials consider school design

May 13, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

With a $19 million bond issue approved by county voters on Tuesday, Jefferson County Schools officials will now turn their attention to the design for the county's second high school.

"Now it's time to really hit it hard with the steering committees," Jefferson County Board of Education President Lori Stilley said Wednesday afternoon.

Stilley said a steering committee has started to consider some preliminary designs for the new high school. Additional subcommittees will be set up to help develop detailed designs of things such as where classrooms will be and what they will look like. The subcommittees will include parents and teachers, Stilley said.

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"This is their school," Stilley said.

The second high school, a long-awaited project in the county, is now possible since Jefferson County voters overwhelmingly approved a $19 million school construction bond.

Board of Education members were hoping at least 70 percent of the voters would approve the bond. The voters came through with 71.13 percent of the people voting in the election casting a vote in favor of the measure, according to complete but unofficial results.

A total of 5,849 people voted for the bond and 2,374 people voted against it, according to results.

Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said Wednesday he felt like he was in a dream all day.

The construction project, which will include the renovation of Jefferson High School, will cost about $48 million.

Besides the $19 million bond issue approved by voters, other sources of funding include $19 million from the state School Building Authority and $6 million from the state Economic Development Grant Committee.

The remaining $4 million includes the cost of land already obtained for the school.

A 57-acre parcel has been donated to the school system by the developers of the Huntfield development along U.S. 340 south of Charles Town. The land is valued at $3 million.

The remaining $1 million went to architectural drawings for the renovation of Jefferson High School. A drawing for the front facade of the new high school has been completed.

Based on classic designs like those at Shepherdstown Middle School and Wright Denny Elementary School, the school will be a two-story structure with architectural columns.

"Everybody who sees it really likes it," Nichols said.

School officials wanted to come up with an attractive design for the school because people have complained that Jefferson High School looks like a "warehouse," Stilley said.

The renovation of Jefferson High School is expected to start in the summer, and construction of the high school could start around late fall, Nichols said.

It will take about four years to build the school, Nichols said.

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