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Meeting to focus on B-UHS proposals

BUCKHANNON – Building a new Buckhannon-Upshur High School and converting the existing high school into a new Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School is part of Upshur County School’s proposed Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan.

The CEFP will be discussed tonight at 7 p.m. during a public meeting at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

Ted Shriver, of Williamson Shriver Architects, attended a September board of education meeting virtually to give an overview of what was in the roughly 90-page document. The plan can be seen on the Upshur County Schools website, upshurschools.com, by visiting Departments, then Business Officer, then Finance Documents and clicking on CEFP Public Hearing.

Shriver recapped the process of Phase I and II which involved developing goals and objectives and reviewing population and enrollment among other concepts.

“The most important thing that the state department of education as well as the School Building Authority wanted the committee to focus on is the education plan,” he said.

Shriver also visited every school facility and looked at each building to determine what was needed to bring the buildings up to codes and standards today.

“I identified several things that should be corrected over the next 10 years,” he said.

This also included looking at the overall conditions of facilities and the cost to bring facilities up to date versus replacement cost.

“We know the middle school has a lot of needs,” he said.

Along with the major construction of a new B-UHS and the conversion of the current high school into a new B-UMS, Shriver said there are improvements listed at all elementary schools to bring them up to code, look at safe school entries, roofs and HVAC systems and meet educational needs such as adding pre-k.

The Upshur County Board of Education will need to vote on the plan by the end of October and submit it to the State Department of Education which will take action by the end of year, according to Shriver.

Board member Pat Long asked if larger spaces were being considered due to social distancing.

“I think a lot of the schools have been clamoring for space because of this pandemic to try to space people out and have the appropriate room,” he said.

Shriver said he recommended not taking drastic steps in the 10-year plan based on COVID-19. The CEFP does call for wellness centers or improved wellness center areas.

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