Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 30, 2013

Moving W.Va.deaf, blind schools could cost $100M

Renovating existing facilities would be about $18M less, architect says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An architect said moving the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind to another location could cost nearly $100 million.

That’s about $18 million more than it would cost to renovate or replace the existing facilities in Romney.

David Ferguson with ZMM Architects and Engineers of Charleston told the Charleston Daily Mail that his financial recommendation would be to keep the schools in Romney.

ZMM Architects developed the schools’ master plan. Superintendent Lyn Boyer asked Ferguson to research a potential move after the proposal came up at the state Board of Education’s January meeting.

The schools have been in Romney since 1870 and some of the 19 buildings are original structures. None of the buildings are less than 20 years old.

Some state Board of Education members asked during their January meeting whether relocating the schools would be more cost effective than renovating them. The board is expected to discuss the proposal again at its February meeting, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported.

“Clearly if we move somewhere then the items in our plan that call for renovation and restoration of two historic buildings would not be part of the costs,” Boyer said. “But by the same token if we stay here we don’t have to buy land.”

She estimated a new campus would require 20 to 30 acres. The existing campus is nearly 80 acres.

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