The final Randolph County Board of Education community forum was hosted at Tygarts Valley High/Middle School on Wednesday night. Approximately 26 people were in attendance and had the opportunity to learn more about a proposed $9 million renovation at the school.
The forums allowed the board to gather information regarding approximately $23 million worth of renovations at Beverly Elementary, Coalton Elementary, Harman, Homestead Elementary and Tygarts Valley High/Middle schools.
"We conducted the CEFP (comprehensive educational facilities plan)," MES and Blackwood Associates Managing Director Jeff Wise said. "We found a very large need in Randolph County. We worked with the CEFP committee to identify the most important needs. Consolidation was not an option. Tygarts Valley High/Middle School ended up with the lion's share of the project."
Wise said the $9 million project includes a new gymnasium, auditorium and a complete interior renovation of the middle school portion of the school.
The interior work is estimated to cost $2,597,980 and will include new floors, ceilings, a fire alarm system, sprinkler system, lighting, wiring and electrical, a HVAC system, a communication system, new lockers and restroom upgrades, and renovation of the current gymnasium.
"Everything identified in the middle school would be funded under this project," Wise said.
Blackwood & Associates representatives Jim Blackwood explained that the plan shown to residents is conceptual and could be changed. He said if funding is obtained, the engineering firm will sit down with a design committee at the school to develop the plan.
"We were asked how we could get a gymnasium and auditorium," he said. "The one thing this school needs that it won't get is more land."
He said the new gymnasium would accommodate 480 people, while the new auditorium would be sized to seat 250.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares said he would like to see the gymnasium seat 700 people.
"It doesn't make sense to me for it to be too small to host regional or sectional tournament games," he said.
Wise said if his firm is charged with designing it to seat 700 people, it would be worked in.
One person in the crowd asked why the auditorium would seat only 250 people and added that he doesn't think it would be big enough to host many functions.
"The 250-seat auditorium is typical for this school's enrollment," Wise said.
Phares said the West Virginia School Building Authority would not pay for a larger auditorium because state policy dictates that an auditorium should hold only half of the student body.
"Anything you add beyond that will mean more local money per square foot," he said.
When asked about funding, Phares said the board has not decided on a strategy.
He said if the county would pass a bond call, the School Building Authority could be approached to help fund the project.
Contact Anthony Gaynor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.