Cumberland Times-News

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September 19, 2012

Keyser school will be bigger, says BOE

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education has approved a change order to increase the square footage of the new Keyser Primary School by adding space to the gym and expanding the school’s entrance road from two to three lanes.

The change order, approved at the board’s meeting Tuesday, adds 10 feet to the width of the gym, said Superintendent Rob Woy.

 “It  (the expansion) widens one of the wings and does not increase the developed area,” said Kenton Blackwood, vice president of Blackwood Associates of Fairmont and the architect for the project.

Neither expansion will affect the South End Park, according to Blackwood.

When the board first started planning for the school, the School Building Authority told them they didn’t have enough money.

The board had to reduce the size of the building’s initial plans, said Steve Peer, associate superintendent and treasurer.

“We had to bid certain things as alternates. But once all the bidding was done the prices came in such a way that we could put all those things back,” said Peer. “What this change order does is it allows us to restore some of the reductions that were initially reduced. Keep in mind, it’s nothing that wasn’t in the original design of the building. In doing this, it leaves a little room for contingencies.”

The expansion of the road from two lanes to three lanes will help create a more efficient flow of traffic, said Peer.

“Rather than having one lane going in, we will have three lanes and one opposing lane. That will allow people to exit in the same area without having to follow that road to the middle school,” said Peer. “There will be less congestion getting in and out.”

The entrance road to the new school will be adjacent to the existing entrance of the Mineral County Technical Center, Blackwood said.

“We are working with the West Virginia Department of Highways to develop a plan to help reduce the periodic congestion on Harley O Staggers Drive and at the existing schools,” said Blackwood in an email to the Times-News.

Construction on the $13.5 million primary school commenced June 11. The design of the school includes 31 full-size classrooms, which include rooms for general education, art/music and two special education classrooms; five medium-size classrooms, which include two computer labs and three special education classrooms; and nine small instructional spaces for speech, special education, occupational therapy/physical therapy and Title I.

The new school will house grades pre-kindergarten through four. The existing Keyser Primary Middle School will be renovated into a dedicated middle school for fifth through eighth grades.

A Qualified Zone Academy Bonds agreement will fund $4 million of the $13.5 million project, with the remaining $8.8 million coming from the state’s SBA and $1.2 million from the school system.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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