ST. MARYS - Paperwork continues to move for Pleasants County school officials as they work toward a new high school. Officials are hoping they soon will see dirt moving.
"We are really excited," Pleasants County Schools Superintendent Mike Wells said. "We are getting real close to getting the project started. I hope to see dirt moved at the high school real soon."
Thursday evening board of education members accepted all the bids presented for the new school. Wells said they will hold a special board meeting April 9 to award contracts.
"If contracts are awarded, we will have a meeting right after with the contractors. And work should be starting real soon," Wells said. "We are trying to get things expedited at this point."
The $18.05 million school bond will be combined with more than $12.9 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) to fund the building of a new St. Marys High School adjacent to the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute.
The estimated cost of the new high school, including athletic facilities, is almost $23.5 million, with another $1 million to tear down the current high school.
Progress on the new high school has been slow. Wells said part of the hold up had to do with untangling ownership of the land behind the technical center property, where the school's athletic complex is slated to be built. 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.
Wells said officials are still trying to determine what to do with the existing high school. There is a million dollars for demolition of the school, but officials plan to retain the gymnasium, the agricultural building and the new board offices.
"We will demolish what we are not going to use and keep what is going to be used," he said.
Wells said the gym's use is also up for discussion. The gym is an asset not just for the school system but for the community, he said.
Wells said a number of entities have reviewed the site to see what use it could serve.
"The board is willing to listen to any group and what they are willing to do," he said.
"What we don't want is a high school building sitting there empty."