ST. MARYS, W.Va. — When St. Marys High School students return Monday from Christmas break, they will walk into a brand new high school.
Pleasants County students attended the old high school facility prior to the break, and on Monday will walk into the new facility at 2330 North Pleasants Highway just off West Virginia 2 adjacent to the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Center.
Construction on the new facilities began in 2013.
Pleasants County Schools Superintendent Mike Wells said the total project cost was close to $24 million after some add-ons.
“The SBA (School Building Authority) put in half, a local bond paid the other half for the school. There is a separate bond for the athletic facility, it will be completed next spring,” Wells said.
The inaugural basketball game was played this first weekend in January, with the first official day of school in the new building coming on Monday.
Wells, who himself was hands on during the moving process, said teachers and maintenance workers were very busy in the last days leading up to the students’ return.
“We moved stuff from Dec. 23 over break just about everyday other than Christmas. Part of the lab facilities for the agricultural students won’t be completed for a couple of weeks, but things have gone pretty smoothly,” Wells said. “We really appreciate everyone’s help: teachers, maintenance and transportation departments, everyone has been helping to move, everyone has pitched in, the teachers went into their rooms putting things out and getting ready.”
The original part of the old school was constructed in the early 1900s then additional structures were added on in the later years as they were needed.
“It is exciting. We will be having an open house for the public soon, but we just wanted to get the students in the building first, then open it up. Getting everything moved and getting the kids in there was first priority. But we’re very proud and ready to show it off,” he said.
The new high school provides three state-of-the-art science labs, welding booths and power equipment.
“We weren’t able to have some of this before, there will be the latest technology throughout the building. When you are dealing with older buildings, the infrastructure for wiring and technology, it’s just not there so you do the best you can,” Wells said.
The new building also has SMART energy technology.
“All the lights, heating, security is tied together. During non-use periods, the lighting, heat can be turned down,” Wells said, noting the district hopes to see some savings on utility costs as a result.
“I think most everybody has a bigger work area and the design and layout just flows so much better. The kitchen area is probably four or five times what we had,” Well said.
The superintendent said the new facility will be the pride of the community and he hopes will also serve as an economic development tool to draw people into the area.
“It’s a small community, our two elementary schools were both renovated in the past six or seven years, we have one middle school and one high school so we have a lot of offer,” he said.
“Everyone involved with the project did a great job,” Wells said.
“The building is looking great and will be the pride of Pleasants County,” said Jody Murphy, executive director for the Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce. “The athletic facility continues to make progress with the track and tennis court paving to begin in the spring of 2015.”
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