Tyler Eppley, from Pickering Associates, talks to the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday night about the feasibility study done on the Jackson Park site for the new Vienna Elementary. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

PARKERSBURG — Members of McKinley Associates and Pickering Associates gave the Wood County Board of Education an update Tuesday night on the proposed site for the new Vienna Elementary.

“It’s currently in a site feasibility study stage and it’s also in a schematic design stage,” Tyler Eppley from Pickering Associates said. “Pickering was engaged to take a look at the Jackson Park location … it’s still in progress. So we have not finalized this. We are still collecting data. We’re waiting on a little bit of information from the DOH, the West Virginia Department of Highways, and from the city of Vienna.”

Eppley said the feasibility study found the Jackson Park site to be suitable for a new school, with no major issues identified through surveys, soil testing, environmental assessments, and traffic analysis. He said the site’s topography will require deeper or improved foundations to support the building but this isn’t an uncommon thing for this area.

“With a lot of riverbed materials, you’re gonna have soils that are a little bit softer on top, and then it’s a little bit stiffer going down,” Eppley said.

He talked about the traffic concerns and the plans to address those. He said the main entrance and drop-off areas are designed to have a one-way loop with double stacking lanes to prevent backups onto Jackson Park Drive. He said there will also be a dedicated bus drop-off area with a separate entrance and exit to keep bus traffic separated from parent drop-off. He said traffic studies showed a need for a left-turn lane and traffic signal at the intersection of Jackson Park Drive and Rosemar Road to improve traffic flow in the area.

Blaine Myers, attorney from Myers Law Offices, gave the Wood County Board of Education a presentation of the Lubeck Public Service District Agreement for the alternate mainline extension to the new school building to be built in Lubeck. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

“This is going to clean up this intersection substantially,” Eppley said. “The traffic light and the right turn lane, this is going to be a really beefed up and improved intersection that’s going to really help just the community in general. As far as traffic flow goes.”

Ryan Taylor, from Pickering Associates, said between their offices and McKinley’s they know a lot about this site.

“We think it’s time to go talk to Vienna Council and the city of Vienna,” Taylor said. “We think we can really talk intelligently to the City of Vienna, their residents, their council and answer questions.”

The board voted during the regular agenda to authorize the superintendent and Taylor to enter into negotiations for property acquisition for the new school in the vicinity of Vienna. The pair are on the Vienna City Council agenda to speak to council tonight. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers located at 609 29th St in Vienna. The meeting is open to the public.

Blaine Myers, attorney from Myers Law Offices, also gave the board a presentation of the Lubeck Public Service District Agreement for the alternate mainline extension to the new school to be built in Lubeck.

Franklin Elementary Principal Stephanie Agee requested the Wood County Board of Education allow transportation from Franklin Elementary to the Boys and Girls Club by bus Tuesday night. Agee said she has 22 students attending the club and their van can only hold 12. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

He said the agreement between the board and the PSD has been finalized, and once approved by both, it will be sent to the Public Service Commission for final approval. He said the PSD has indicated that they will make their best good faith efforts to complete the improvements by the target completion date of July 2026, despite not being able to commit to that date contractually due to potential variables that could impact the project.

Franklin Elementary Principal Stephanie Agee requested the board allow bus transportation from Franklin Elementary to the Boys and Girls Club because she has 22 students going to the club and their current transportation can only carry 12.

“Adding this additional route would be very beneficial for our families at Franklin,” Agee said. “The club offers a safe environment for the children during the after-school hours until 7 p.m. They provide a snack, dinner, homework assistance and tutoring for the students.”

Board members were receptive to the idea and also suggested exploring the possibility of picking up students from the nearby Gihon Elementary to further maximize transportation efficiency and reach more low-income students.

“There’s so many opportunities they have,” Boardmember Judy Johnson said. “They tutor them. They help them with their homework. They have swimming, things children may not be able to be exposed to especially at low socioeconomic levels that would be very, very good for children.”

Director of Elementary Education Heather Grant, asked the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday night to add Little People Place as a county PreK collaborative for the 2024-2025 school year. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

Director of Elementary Education Heather Grant, asked the board to add Little People Place as a county PreK collaborative for the 2024-2025 school year.

She said Pre-K enrollment has increased significantly in the county, with many existing pre-K sites already at full capacity and having waiting lists. She said the new collaborative would provide 20 additional pre-K spots to help meet the growing demand and provide a flexible childcare option for parents. She said the collaborative model allows parents to have their children attend the pre-K program during the school day, while also being able to keep them at the childcare center before and after pre-K hours, as well as on days when pre-K is not in session.

The board voted to add the new collaborative and believes it will be a valuable addition to serve the needs of families in the county.

The next regular meeting of the Wood County Board of Education is scheduled for July 23 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the board offices located at the corner of Plum and 13th streets in Parkersburg. The meeting is open to the public and will be streamed online.

Douglass Huxley can be reached at [email protected]

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Items approved during Tuesday’s consent agenda:

* the short-term school bus lease agreement between Wood County Schools and Parkersburg Elk’s Club 198 to transport school-aged children to 4-H Park departing at 9 a.m. and returning at 5:30 p.m. on July 22 and July 26

* the short-term school bus lease agreement between Wood County Schools and YMCA to transport school-aged children to Columbus Zoo on July 18, departing at 6 a.m. and returning at 7:30 p.m.

* MC Pressure Washing for PHS Stadium Bleacher Cleaning and Stadium Sealer in amount of $24,000

* agreement with consulting services for accounting and grants management for provisional services provided by Pickering Associates

* Gihon Secure Entrance Change Order 2 in the amount of $8,372.09

* American Star Painting for WCTC Corridor Painting in the amount of $18,825.27

* transportation from Franklin Elementary to Boys and Girls Club

* to add Little People Place as a county PreK collaborative for 2024-2025

* the alternate mainline extension agreement with the Lubeck Public Service District to serve the new proposed Lubeck Elementary School

* Articles of Agreement between Wood County Schools and University of St. Augustine for student teaching placements




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