The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 25, 2009

$49 million school bond on Fayette ballot Oct. 24

Four high schools would be consolidated into one

FAYETTEVILLE — A $49 million school bond will be decided by Fayette County voters on Saturday, Oct. 24.

The county commission voted Friday to place the issue on a special election ballot. Earlier in the week, the county school board voted 3-2 to put the bond call before voters. Board members Leon Ivey, Leon Newman and James Workman cast ballots in favor of the bond call, while David Arritt and Steve Bush voted against it.

If approved, the bond would combine with a state School Building Authority grant of $21.9 million, which was awarded in April contingent on bond passage. The total cost of all projects would be slightly more than $70 million.

An additional annual tax burden to county taxpayers would be as follows: Class I property — 12.02 cents per $100 of valuation; Class II — 24.04 cents per $100; and Class III and Class IV — both 48.08 cents per $100.

The bonds must be paid off in 25 1/2 years or less, with the annual interest rate not to exceed 7 percent.

Included in the list of undertakings is a new high school that would combine the student bodies of four high schools — Fayetteville, Midland Trail, Mount Hope and Oak Hill — in a grades 9-12 facility. The acquisition and preparation of the site would account for more than $53 million of the total project cost and would be located on a portion of the Whitlock Farm situated on W.Va. 16 between Wolf Creek and Crooked Run roads.

Schools Superintendent Chris Perkins says an agreement with the property owners has been reached, although he wouldn’t reveal a potential purchase price. With U.S. 19 as a common access route, the site is 3.5 miles from both Oak Hill and Fayetteville high schools, 9.8 miles from Midland Trail and 10.4 miles from Mount Hope.

In addition to the new high school, eight other improvement projects would be included in the construction phase if voters give their go-ahead this fall. Here is a brief synopsis:

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