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Jefferson County's new high school preparing for students and athletes

February 23, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - As the winter season quickly moves along, so does the construction of the new Washington High School - future home of the red, white and blue Patriots.

"The school is just about done," said Judy Marcus, who is principal of the new Jefferson County school after having taught and coached at Jefferson High School.

When the school opens in August, an anticipated 1,100 students will call the halls of Washington their new home.

The long to-do list includes the hiring of teachers and coaches.

"We've been filling teacher positions, which is our first priority," said Marcus. "By the end of February, we will post coaching positions for the fall sports. It's my hope that we'll have them in place by May. That period will be important for the (football) coaches with the three-week conditioning period in June."

Marcus said the 10-game varsity football schedule is complete and the boys and girls soccer schedules are nearly filled. She said the instant rivalry game in football - Washington vs. Jefferson - is already in place for the regular-season finale and will occupy that spot in future schedules.

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Things continue to develop for Marcus, who said the school received bids for the football stadium project last week.

The football stadium will be constructed with the hopes that Washington could host postseason football games. Marcus was unsure how many seats there would be and a determination was still pending on a natural or synthetic field surface.

"We have to wait and see what comes in as far as the costs on the bids," she said.

With the entire campus - including the sporting facilities - sitting on 57 acres, space is at a premium, but Marcus said the layout would be more than practical.

The gymnasium, which Marcus called "simply beautiful," will accommodate 1,800 spectators.

An athletic advisory committee of 14 members has been established to bring the program along in the building-block stages. Washington's athletic director is Larry Shumaker, a former head football coach at Berkeley Springs and Williamsport.

Washington will compete in the Potomac Valley Conference in football and boys basketball and the Apple Valley League in all other sports.

Marcus, an educator for 30 years, was the girls tennis coach at Jefferson for 20 years and cheerleading coach for 25 years.

Now, her focus has changed from filling a team roster to filling job openings, like cafeteria manager, which she hired at Washington last week.

"I always loved teaching and never aspired to be an administrator," said Marcus, who has spent most of her time teaching English. "I'm looking forward to the challenge."

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