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School design OK'ed for Jefferson High School

November 19, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A preliminary design for a renovation of Jefferson High School was approved Thursday night by the Jefferson County Board of Education.

The renovation will include three major additions, said architect David Lipp of Helbing Lipp Ltd Architects Engineers.

Those additions will be a media and entrance area at the front of the school along Flowing Springs Road, a band suite and a gymnasium that will have seating for 2,000 people, Lipp told board of education members.

An existing media center will be converted to a new "tech ed" area, a driver's education room will be converted to a science lab and the auditorium will be renovated, Lipp said.

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Parts of the renovation will be completed while students are in session, but the work is not expected to interfere with classes, Lipp said.

"It looks very good," Board of Education member Jud Romine said.

Jefferson High School, the only high school in the county, is more than 30 years old. Deteriorating conditions have arisen at the school over the years as well as overcrowding.

The school was designed for 1,200 students but has had as many as 1,600, officials have said.

The Board of Education also is in the process of designing a second high school to help serve a growing student population.

The renovation of Jefferson High School and construction of the new high school will cost about $48 million.

The project is being funded with a $19 million bond issue passed by county voters in May, $6 million from the state Economic Development Grant Committee and $19 million from the state School Building Authority.

At Thursday night's meeting, board of education members said they accepted a bid earlier in the day for the sale of the construction bonds approved by voters in May.

The successful bid was made by Wachovia Bank.

The bonds were sold at a interest rate of 3.8 percent, Board of Education President Lori Stilley said.

A worst-case scenario would have been selling the bonds at a 7.5 percent interest rate, school officials said.

Had the interest rate been that high, the money to be paid back would have been $33 million as opposed to the $25.8 million under the 3.8 percent interest rate, school officials said.

The renovation and new construction projects are expected to be opened to students in the summer of 2007.

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