Berkeley County school officials aim to divert unspent state funding to North Middle renovation

November 19, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County school officials want to divert unspent state funding granted for the construction of two new schools toward the cost of renovating Martinsburg North Middle School.

Given favorable construction bid results thus far for the new Spring Mills High and Gerrardstown Area Middle schools, Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon said Monday he expects the county will not spend all of the $35 million that the state School Building Authority awarded for the projects.

“We’re projecting a surplus ... we’re asking to keep those dollars,” Arvon said after the Berkeley County Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The middle school renovation, along with the two new schools and a 20-classroom addition at Musselman High School, were made possible by a Berkeley County voter-approved $51.5 million bond issue in 2009.

Local support for the projects helped net $25 million in state funding for the county’s fourth high school, which is set to open next year, and $10 million for the new middle school in southern Berkeley County.  

Arvon said contractors’ bids for the Martinsburg North Middle School renovation project were opened earlier this fall, but not awarded, pending the outcome of the funding reallocation request.

The total cost of the renovation and an already completed 20-classroom addition at North Middle is about $14.7 million, officials said.

The deadline to submit the request is Dec. 1, but Arvon said the school district might not receive a decision from the state for a few months after that.

Despite the amount of time that has passed since the bid opening, Arvon said he is hopeful the project will not have to be rebid.

In order to net the unspent state funding, the Berkeley County Board of Education voted Monday to apply for “needs project” funding for the renovation project from the state School Building Authority. 

School officials have previously received state approval to shift some state funding from the Spring Mills High School project to the new middle school, Arvon said.

In other business:

  • The Board of Education awarded a $71,495 bid to Timberlake Electric and Trades Inc. of Martinsburg to install outlets for projectors in 532 classrooms in the county.
  • Assistant Superintendent Kim Hough has accepted a similar position at the Loudoun County, Va., public school district, but her position will not be filled, Arvon said. Justin Schooley, Ronald Stephens and Laura Sutton in the board office are expected to take on additional duties as a result of Hough’s departure, according to Arvon. Schooley was named associate superintendent for human resources and Stephens was named assistant superintendent for student services, effective Monday, in personnel actions approved by the school board Monday night.

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