Officials to present school site possibilities

WILLIAMSTOWN – Members of Williamstown Elementary New School Steering Committee say they will present two site recommendations to the school board next week.

Tim Yeater, president of the Wood County Board of Education and member of the steering committee, said officials have pared down possible sites for a new school.

“We have a couple of choices in the city limits,” he said.

Sue Woodward, steering committee member, said it started with 11 potential sites, pared down to four or five – through a rating and scoring system- and eventually down to two.

“Two rose to the top,” she said. “They were very different ideas, but very similar scores.”

Yeater said committee members are not identifying the sites, opting to wait until the Oct. 22 board of education meeting.

“The reason being we want to make sure we have our T’s crossed and dotted the I’s,” he said.

Yeater also noted no property has been purchased.

“We want to give it over to the board of education,” he said.

A new Williamstown Elementary is the top priority in the county’s comprehensive education facilities plan. The current building is more than 100 years old and is not handicapped accessible.

The current school sits on about three acres of land.

The steering committee has been working for several months reviewing potential new school sites.

The board and the city of Williamstown sought land on at least eight acres within the school district with access to public utilities. Committee officials said the community prefers the new school remain in Williamstown, but scouted locations in the Williamstown district.

“The main focus of the community was to keep something in the town proper; something accessible to the town and still part of the community, which eliminated some nice pieces of property which were outside the city limits,” Yeater said.

Yeater said the committee will present a few site options to the board- all of which are inside the city limits – for consideration.

“We can only make recommendations to the board that we have done due diligence. We are a committee without money,” Woodward said. “We went as far as we could go for free.”

Initially, the committee was slated have a site recommendation before the board last month. Yeater said missing the self-imposed deadline won’t hinder progress.

“We are still within the scope of being able to put this together and get it on a bond. Yes, we are good.”