New school six weeks from finish

NEW CUMBERLAND – Weirton Elementary School, the biggest project to be funded by Hancock County Schools’ 2010 bond levy, is six weeks away from “substantial” completion, the Hancock County Board of Education learned this week.

The 105,000-square-foot school will centralize public elementary education in Weirton, uniting students from three elementary schools under one roof in the 2014-15 school year.

“We’re well on the way to completing this project. … There’s a lot of things going on at the school,” said Ron Blatt, project manager for Project and Construction Services Inc. of Wheeling. “I’m pleased with the progress of the job.”

Blatt told school board members Monday that the $26 million project is still “on target” for completion by March 28.

“I think everyone will agree that it’s a beautiful school – inside and outside,” Superintendent Suzan Smith said. “We’ve had a lot of interest from people wanting to see the new school.”

Weirton Elementary School, on Pennsylvania Avenue, will replace Broadview, Liberty and Weirton Heights elementary schools in the next school year. All three older buildings will be demolished in October or November, but not before people have one more chance to tour the schools and reminisce, Smith said.

An open house for the three school buildings likely will be held on a Sunday in April, she said.

Blatt said most of the lighting, interior painting and dropped ceiling work is done at the new school. Epoxy flooring remains to be installed in parts of the building, he said.

Eight of the nine air handler units for heating, ventilating and air conditioning are working, he said. Restrooms are done, and all the kitchen equipment is in place, he said.

Basketball hoops have been installed in the gymnasium, and pre-kindergarten classrooms are nearing completion, he said. Carpeting for classrooms is on order and expected to arrive shortly, he said.

On the outside, seeding and parking lot paving will be done later in the spring, Blatt said.

“Substantial completion means they’re granted occupancy from the state fire marshal,” he said. “It means (the building) can be occupied by the public.”

Blatt said there may be “punch list” items for the contractors to complete after that.

Bids for video cameras were opened last week and likely will be awarded at the next school board meeting, he said. The school board awarded a contract for HVAC testing and balancing at its Jan. 27 meeting to Harvey Air Balancing Co., of Madison, W.Va., whose bid was $45,895.

In addition to the new school, the bond levy paid for the construction of multi-sports complexes at Oak Glen and Weir high schools, as well as other capital improvements to the high schools, Oak Glen and Weir middle schools, Allison and New Manchester elementary schools, and the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center.

The levy generated $37 million, in addition to $19 million awarded by the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Cattrell Companies Inc., of Toronto, Ohio, is the general contractor. McKinley & Associates, of Wheeling, is the architect.

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