Wood County Board of Education signs paperwork to buy Fenton site

Photo by Wayne Towner Wood County Schools Superintendent John Flint signs the final paperwork Friday to purchase the Fenton Art Glass factory in Williamstown, with Randy Fenton, left, president of Fenton Gift Shop, and George Fenton, right, president of Fenton Art Glass Co.

PARKERSBURG — Members of the Fenton family and Wood County Schools Superintendent John Flint held a short formal signing ceremony Friday to officially purchase the former Fenton Art Glass property in Williamstown as the site of the community’s new elementary school.

Flint was joined by George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass Co., and Randy Fenton, president of Fenton Gift Shop, at the Wood County Board of Education office in Parkersburg.

The signing came after a special meeting Thursday night when the Wood County BOE voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the factory for $1,254,803.61 and the parking lot owned by the Fenton Gift Shop for $188,283.66.

The first phase of demolition will start in July and will be handled by George Fenton, during which time an external design of the new school will be completed, officials said. Construction of the new Williamstown Elementary School is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

In addition to the new school construction, officials will also begin work on an expansion project at Williamstown High School which will feature four new classrooms and a science lab for the sixth-grade students who will move from the elementary school to the newly expanded high school-middle school. The project includes the addition of an auditorium at the high school, a first for the school.

“This has been a long trip to get here today, but it’s been worth it,” Flint said.

“It took a lot of people to get here, a lot of energy, a lot of focus, a lot of commitment. Today is a pinnacle of success for the taxpayers of Wood County and the people of Williamstown … who now will see a brand new facility at Williamstown Elementary,” he said.

The property purchases and new construction are part of a $41 million facilities bond call approved by voters last November. Other projects falling under the bond are new construction at the Wood County Technical Center in south Parkersburg and roof replacements throughout the district.

Crews began work this week on roof projects at Blennerhassett Elementary and Middle schools, Franklin Elementary Center, Mineral Wells Elementary School and Parkersburg High School.