WVSBA awards Pendleton County Schools $9.8 million

Pendleton County has been awarded $9.8 million by the state School Building Authority to “design build” a new elementary school in Franklin.

“Design build” is a new concept being used by public schools to build facilities in a “series of steps,” which is supposed to be a quicker method of construction, Pendleton County Superintendent Doug Lambert said.

The SBA “embraced the innovation and creativity of this concept to embark on this journey” by awarding Pendleton and Harrison counties two of the largest grants made to the 11 chosen counties receiving part of $43 million in funding this year.

“The SBA wanted to attempt building schools under this concept, and we feel fortunate to participate. Our school board took a giant leap of faith in approving this project,” Lambert said.

The construction of the more than 40,000 square-foot school will be closely monitored by the SBA.

“There will be a lot of oversight on this project, but that’s OK. In two years, we hope to be dedicating this school,” Lambert added.

Pendleton County will be responsible for $1 million in construction funds. The school system will borrow $679,000 in a non-interest Qualified Zone Academic bond, which will be paid off in 10to 15 years.

“We hope to make the rest by selling the current school, the adjacent playground property and even the school board building, if necessary, moving the board office to the new school,” Lambert said.

The first step toward construction will be to hire a criteria developer and an educational facility planner who will design the “footprint of the school,” such as how many classrooms are needed, the gym and eating facilities.

“The construction and aesthetics will be like any other school and will blend in with the community,” Lambert said.

The school board still is in the process of making a decision on purchasing property for the new school.

“We’re really excited – this is a great day for Pendleton County. Now, the work really begins, but it is so good to be doing this kind of work.” Lambert said.