Systems renovated, refreshed

August 02, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

While Berkeley County school officials are bracing for what some describe as a student population explosion, school officials in Jefferson and Morgan counties will start the year with several staff changes, new school openings and a long list of renovations.

Classes begin Thursday, Aug. 26, for students in all three counties, and class times will vary depending on each school.

In Berkeley County

At a rate of 500 new students a year for two consecutive years, Berkeley County is one of West Virginia's fastest growing school systems, Deputy Superintendent Frank Aliveto said.

For the past six years, Aliveto said the county has opened a new school each year to ease overcrowding.

This year is no exception. The new Spring Mills Middle School on Campus Drive in the Spring Mills community will open with 480 students.


"We have six science labs in the building and five computer labs," school Principal Marc Arvon said. "It's wonderful."

Arvon said students will have an opportunity to work with state-of-the-art educational technology.

Arvon is the younger brother to Manny P. Arvon, superintendent of Berkeley County Schools.

Other renovations in the school system include a new gymnasium and additional classrooms at Hedgesville High School, eight new classrooms at Musselman High School and a new heating and air-conditioning system at Martinsburg High School. Back Creek, Bunker Hill and Gerrardstown elementary schools also have been renovated, and Hedgesville Elementary School has more than doubled in size following a major expansion, Aliveto said.

Construction crews will continue to work through the year on classroom additions at Mill Creek Intermediate School and on the construction of a new elementary school in south Berkeley County, Aliveto said.

In Jefferson County

Bev Hughes, associate superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, said retirements and staff reorganization have led to the largest hiring of new principals in 15 years.

Four new principals have been assigned in the county. They are Sheri Hoff at Jefferson High School, Judy Marcus at Shepherdstown Middle School, Ann Ebersole at Page Jackson Elementary School and Chris Walter at Wright Denny Intermediate School.

Among other changes, Jefferson County's Alternative Learning Center has been renamed the Opportunity Learning Center. The center's director, Frank Daquila, will retire in September, and a replacement will be named by Sept. 30, Hughes said.

Hughes' own retirement will come as school begins.

Former Jefferson High School Principal Susan Wall will replace Hughes as the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Oscar Robertson will join the system as the new associate superintendent for operations.

In Morgan County

Peggy Miller, personnel director of Morgan County Schools, said the system will hire about 19 new teachers for the new school year.

The new Warm Springs Intermediate School will open to students in third, fourth and fifth grades. North Berkeley Elementary School will close and students will transfer to Widmyer Elementary School. Plans also are under way to convert the North Berkeley Elementary building into new offices for the Morgan County Board of Education, Superintendent David Temple said.

Conrad Lucas, Morgan County Board of Education treasurer and chief school business official, said a number of facility upgrades also were funded.

A $1.9 million heating and air-conditioning system will be installed at Widmyer Elementary School at the end of the month. In July, $500,000 was spent to upgrade the electrical system and to install a new heating and air-conditioning system in the arts and social studies building at Berkeley Springs High School, Lucas said.

Overall, Lucas said $8.6 million has been allocated for facility improvements and construction in the last two years.

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