Construction projects bring big changes for Wood County Schools

Wood County Schools take on many construction projects this summer.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 8:51 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Construction is going to be a familiar sight at Wood County Schools this summer.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling said of the projects, “We’re excited for our students to have up-to-date classrooms, air conditioning that’s up to date…,”

Williamstown Middle School and high school are getting their bleachers replaced, Jefferson Elementary is getting 232 window replacements, multiple school areas are being repaved, and more.

WTAP got a look at the site of one of three inclusive playgrounds being built - which are coming to Blennerhassett Elementary, Gihon Elementary, and Jefferson Elementary.

Seth Ambrose of Playground Builders LLC., which is working on the playground, said, “This playground is an inclusive playground so if you’re in a wheelchair, need a walker, or a cane, you’re not impeded by the mulch for instance.”

The playgrounds will have rubber surfacing, which is easier to navigate for wheelchair and walker users, as well as merry-go-rounds that aren’t elevated and have a seat on them.

They’ll even have a music area and more.

“It’s essentially you just take the provided mallet, and you tap on the different pieces and make different notes and essentially create your own songs,” Ambrose explained.

Another project coming is six new classrooms for Blennerhassett Elementary.

Fling said, “It’s nice to say that they’re out of space and they’re growing. We usually don’t get to say that about our schools.”

Blennerhassett will also be getting a revamped secure entrance. This will include bullet-resistant walls and a bullet-resistant visitor window. Fling explained that the office will be moved to the outer edge of the school and people will be credentialed in a vestibule to get into the building.

“We’re not trying to keep people from coming into our buildings but, at the same time, we’re trying to screen people to make sure that we’re not exposing our children to any kind of a threat,” Fling said.

He added that more revamped secure entrances will come with bond funding.

School officials clarify that all summer construction projects are separate from school bond projects.

Fling said officials are also aiming to get the Parkersburg High School Field House and Rod Oldham Athletic Center hooked up to air-conditioning by May of 2023.

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