High school groundbreaking set for June 17

May 25, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - With a voter-approved $19 million bond issue, state funds and $2.5 million in school impact fees being used to fund it, school officials are scheduled to break ground on Jefferson County's second high school next month.

The Jefferson County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols plan to lead the ceremony at 10 a.m. June 17.

The school will be built next to the Huntfield development along U.S. 340 and will cost $37.9 million, Nichols said Tuesday.

A cost overrun of $3.5 million developed when the school was being designed, school officials have said.

Board of Education member Cheryl Huff said previously that the cost overrun developed when the state School Building Authority required school officials to use a cost of $128 per square foot in determining the cost of the school.


Architects were telling school officials that the rate needed to be higher, Huff said.

Although the School Building Authority later allowed the square footage cost to be increased to $161, the school system had to use the $128 figure when it put the project out for a bid, Huff said.

To offset the cost overrun, money was transferred from the school system's maintenance budget and $2.5 million in school impact fees were used to help fund it, Nichols said.

Jefferson County voters also approved a $19 million bond issue about a year ago to fund the school.

It is too early to determine when the school might be finished, Nichols said.

It was believed that the school could be completed by December of next year, but it could be earlier or later than that, Nichols said.

Some site work has started, and Nichols said project engineers have told him they will be able to give him a better idea when the building will be completed when they begin putting the building up.

The school is needed to serve a growing student population in the county. Jefferson High School, the only high school in the county, is more than 30 years old and has had as many as 1,600 students, although it is only designed for 1,200.

A renovation of Jefferson High is under way.

The design of the new school includes a science and technology center, which will have computer labs for both students and adults to use, school officials have said.

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