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Berkeley County school projects in full swing

May 18, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- Dirt will likely be moving, if it's not happening already, at a Berkeley County Schools campus near you in the coming months.

Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II told Berkeley County Board of Education members on Monday evening that he hopes to award bids for 20-room additions at Musselman High and Martinsburg North Middle schools as early as the middle of next month or early July.

Later this summer, Arvon said he would like the site work for the county's fourth high school to be under way at the Spring Mills campus where a primary school already is under construction. The primary school, the state's first "green" building, is slated to open in August 2011.

"They've started to brick the outside of that building," Arvon said.

Contractors are scheduled to meet with school officials May 26 in a prebid meeting about the 20-room additions, which Arvon said can be bid separately or as a package.

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Both projects are similar in that they each are designed to include four science classrooms, 16 regular classrooms and an elevator, Arvon said.

Given the economic climate, Arvon is hopeful a combination bid by a contractor for both projects could net savings for the school district.

The projects are being financed in part by the county's taxpayers. Voters in September approved a $51.5 million bond issue for four building and renovation projects. With the bond issue approval, the school district netted a $25 million commitment for the high school project from the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Last month, the state agency announced a $12.5 million Needs Grant award for the new high school from 2011 SBA funds.

The SBA's decision to apportion the $25 million state commitment still fits the school district's construction schedule, Arvon said. Construction of the high school is expected to take 24 months.

In other business, the school board on Monday approved the appointment of Lewis A. Mullenax to serve as the new principal of Mountain Ridge Intermediate School, effective July 30, as part of several personnel actions.

Mullenax, 36, is currently an assistant principal at Tomahawk Intermediate School, according to the school district.

He began his teaching career in Hampshire County, W.Va., teaching fourth-graders at Slanesville Elementary School, before relocating to Berkeley County in August 2000 to teach at Mill Creek Intermediate School.

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