BOE approves project to put Ravenswood Middle School, Ravenswood High School under one roof

Students were among those present during the Jackson County Board of Education meeting on September 17, 2015 to voice concerns about the plan to put Ravenswood High School and Ravenswood Middle School under one roof.

Students were among those present during the Jackson County Board of Education meeting on September 17, 2015 to voice concerns about the plan to put Ravenswood High School and Ravenswood Middle School under one roof.

 

By ASHLEY HART
Jackson Newspapers

 

JACKSON COUNTY – The Jackson County Board met for regular session on September 17, 2015.There were nine delegations that came before the Jackson County Board of Education, eight of which pertained to the Ravenswood High School ‘proposed plan’ that would put Ravenswood High School and Ravenswood Middle School under one roof.

Representatives for both the Ravenswood High School and Ravenswood Middle School were present to state questions and concerns regarding the proposal.

Ravenswood High School Student Samantha Wagner, Student Body President, along with fellow Ravenswood High students, spoke before the Board of Education to voice concerns regarding potential educational disruptions during the initial construction of the school facility, as well as any educational disruptions from middle school aged students in proximity of high school students. Ms. Wagner provided suggestions for the proposed school combination plan.

The Board of Education recognized the students concerns but assured that every measure would be taken into account to ensure minimal amount of educational disturbances. Jackson County Board of Education Superintendent Blaine Hess’s proposal involves combining both the Ravenswood High and Ravenswood Middle Schools under one sizable building expansion on the current RvHS campus in Ravenswood.

Since the Jackson County Board of Education secured funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority for the construction of the new Kenna School Building, the counties next top priority became the Ravenswood Middle School project in December 2015. Two years ago the Board of Education submitted to the School Building Authority (SBA) a bid for $17,816,641 with a total qualification of $14 million under the SBA funding formula. The original intent involved constructing a new middle school facility on the Eastwood property, however since this proposal, excavations cost have increased vastly. An additional $3 million of excavation cost would be required to construct the facility at Eastwood. The additional cost would’ve been the responsibility of the County.

Superintendent Blaine Hess stated prior, “The additional excavation costs, along with the county match to secure SBA funding is not feasible in the near future.” The temporary wing at the current Ravenswood Middle School was constructed in 1968, forty-seven years ago. There are roughly 19 other schools in West Virginia, which have a high school-middle school combined facility.

Blaine Hess commented in the days following the Jackson County Board meeting, “ The Board approved the recommendation, as presented, of the Needs Project for the new Ravenswood Middle School. The plan will now be submitted to the School Building Authority of West Virginia for consideration and possible funding. The Jackson County Schools project will be one of many projects competing for the limited amount of available funding from the School Building Authority. The decision on funding will be announced in December.”