Berkeley Co. school board to consider public recreation center

It would be built on about three acres of the Musselman High School campus

February 19, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Board of Education on Monday is expected to consider a proposal to allow the construction of a public recreation center on the campus of Musselman High School.

Superintendent Manny P. Arvon and Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board executive director R. Stephen "Steve" Catlett are expected to give a presentation about the project.

The school board's meeting begins at 7 p.m.

The recreation center is proposed to be built with money that Powerball jackpot winner W. Randy Smith has contributed to an endowment fund that he established with the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation.

"It is my hope that the Board will be able to give us a positive vote so that we can move forward ..." Arvon said.

The recreation center would be built on about three acres of the high school campus, which is about 50 acres, according to Arvon.

The high school campus along U.S. 11 in Inwood, W.Va.,, was one of three  sites in southern Berkeley County that Arvon said was considered for the recreation center.

Proposed to be about 18,000 square feet, the project could cost as much as $1.5 million, Catlett has said. Officials had hoped to be able to save money on labor costs because the recreation center's construction is to be privately funded, but state law requires prevailing wage rates be applied if it is built on public property, Catlett said Friday.

Smith, who won a $79 million lottery prize in August 2010,  started the W. Randy Smith Family Fund with the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation last fall and Catlett said Friday that the Parks & Recreation Board is working with the tax-exempt public charity organization to work out the financing arrangement for the project.

The Parks & Recreation Board already has advertised a request for architects to prepare bid documents and firms have until March 2 to submit information, Catlett said.

Catlett said the county's second public recreation center is proposed to be a little larger than the Berkeley 2000 Recreation Center's original size when it opened in 2002 at 16,800 square feet. Additions have increased the Berkeley 2000 Recreation Center's size to more than 40,000 square feet.

Even with the added cost that comes with the state's prevailing wage law, Catlett said the high school campus construction site remains attractive because utilities are already in place.

"All the infrastructure is there," Catlett said.

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