ST. MARYS - Pleasants County Schools will fund four building projects in the coming years, including a new St. Marys High School and athletic facility thanks the passage of a bond issue.
The school levy passed Nov. 2 with a vote of 1,522 in favor and 1,020 opposed. The proposal needed a simple majority, 50 percent of the vote plus 1, to pass.
The bond follows an unsuccessful bond issue in 2000 when a similar issue was defeated. Officials said while they hoped for a larger majority of voters to support the much-needed facility upgrades in November, passage of the bond will allow the school system to dramatically improve upon its existing schools.
The $18,050,000 school bond will be combined with another $12,973,000 from the West Virginia School Building Authority to fund the building of a new St. Marys High School adjacent to the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute, an athletics facility, renovations to Belmont Elementary School and the demolition of the current high school.
The estimated cost of the high school is $23,446,000, with another $1 million to tear down the current high school. The $4 million athletics facility, complete with a softball and baseball field, gymnasium, tennis courts, football field and regulation-sized track, would be located on the campus of the new St. Marys High School.
The final building project would fund $2.5 million in renovations to Belmont Elementary School, including handicap accessible restrooms, paving the parking lot, a new HVAC system, electrical upgrade, and a road providing entry to the school from the rear of the building.
The levy will generate a maximum school bond interest rate of 6.75 percent for property owners annually for the next 15 years. The tax increase is based on the yearly assessed valuation of property. The final interest rates will be established on the date of the sale of bonds.
The new school could be completed by fall of 2013.