The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

January 31, 2014

SBA director urges voters to pass proposed bond

West Virginia School Building Authority Executive Director Dr. Mark Manchin told Ghent Elementary School and Shady Spring district parents Thursday that a proposed bond for Raleigh County is the most efficient bond call he’s seen presented to the SBA.

Manchin urged residents to vote in favor of the $39 million bond on Feb. 8.

Manchin, who was at Stratton Elementary School Thursday afternoon, attended a Local School Improvement Council meeting for Ghent parents at Ghent Elementary School Thursday evening, where he spoke again in favor of the bond.

“These children deserve the best education possible they possibly can get, at a quality facility,” Manchin told the approximately 70 Raleigh County Schools employees, teachers, parents and students gathered at the school, where a dinner was served earlier in the evening.

“I’m going to commend the Board of Education and board of education members on what an outstanding job you’ve done on putting this bond together,” he said.

If passed by voters, the bond will build two new elementary schools and renovate and upgrade facilities throughout the county.

Once the bond is pass-ed, Manchin said Thursday, the SBA will give “millions of dollars” to the county school board, increasing the funding to $72 million to be spent on county school buildings.

Manchin said in the seven years he’s been at the SBA, county boards of education around the state had presented 23 bond proposals.

Of the 23, 12 were successful and generated “hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.

“This is one of the best (bond proposals) I’ve seen,” said Manchin. “It does more, more efficiently, than any bond we’ve seen. So say yes to your children.”

Ghent Elementary would receive an updated air conditioning system under the bond.

Architect Blair Frier showed preliminary plans of changes the bond would allow at Shady Spring High School and Shady Spring Elementary School.

Shady Spring Elementary School gets eight new classrooms, a new secure entrance and a newly configured dining room with a gymnasium if the bond is passed, Frier said.

The high school will see renovations and increased security to the front entrance, an expanded kitchen and dining area and a competition-size gymnasium.

“Security’s a really huge issue at schools now,” said Frier. “Both of these projects you’re looking at will have new, secure entrances.”

Raleigh Board of Education President Rick Snuffer pointed out that Shady schools routinely achieve high rankings on state assessments.

“It’s time you got rewarded,” he said.

Snuffer said community members will work with architects to plan the schools.

“If you say, ‘I don’t like what I saw (tonight),’ good,” said Snuffer. “We’ll talk to you.

“We’re willing to take all ideas in the process ... from start to finish. I want Shady Spring High School to basically be a new high school,” he add-ed. “Let’s do it right the first time.”

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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