MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It’s been a long, costly project but Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon is happy that renovation work at Martinsburg North Middle School is complete – and soon the fruit of that effort will be celebrated and open to the public.
Speaking before Monday night’s board meeting, Arvon said the most important thing is that students will have additional resources when they return to classes next month.
“When visitors and the kids go through there next month it will be like being in a new school. It’s really nice,” Arvon said.
He said the $10 million renovation project includes an expansion of the school’s gymnasium (including the installation of additional seats), cafeteria and kitchen, removing asbestos tile and some classroom improvements as well as heating and air conditioning upgrades.
An additional $5 million was previously spent on the construction of new classrooms, bringing the school’s total improvements to $15 million, Arvon said.
“This all actually started with the passage of a bond issue in 2009, and we sold the bonds in 2010. One of the first projects in that bond was a 20-classroom addition at North Middle,” he said.
That same bond helped finance construction of Spring Mills Primary, Mountain Ridge Middle and Spring Mills High, as well as 20 additional classrooms at Musselman Middle, Arvon said.
The 20 additional classrooms were the first projects at North Middle, and were completed by 2011, he said.
“Part of this was planned in this way because we were looking at such a major renovation there, and this meant we were able to move students out of sections of the building as we were doing construction. Plus, we had 12 portable classrooms, so school just kept on going without interruption,” Arvon said.
A dedication ceremony – which is open to the public – will be held Aug. 4 beginning at 4 p.m.
“This is a time to dedicate the whole, new North Middle School because it really has gone through some amazing changes since it opened in about 1960,” he said.
“The one thing that was most important about this renovation was the electrical because we previously had window air conditioners, but we were able to re-outfit the heating and air conditioning system for the entire project,” Arvon said.
As part of the meeting agenda, board members unanimously approved a $35,600 bid from W. Harley Miller Contractors that includes $29,000 for musical furniture at North Middle and $6,600 for classroom stools at Spring Mills High.
– Staff writer Jenni Vincent can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 131.