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School board office to receive facelift

October 23, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , Weirton Daily Times

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Education office at 1201 Pleasant Ave. will undergo a facelift as crews work to repair and resurface its stucco-like facade.

The board on Monday accepted a bid of $125,560 from Unique Walls and Ceilings of Wellsburg for the project.

Rob Robinson, the school district's facilities supervisor, said it was the lowest of two bids submitted for the job, which he said will address corners and other areas where the material is coming apart from the building's original brick exterior and an area where rain is seeping between the two.

Robinson said the facade last underwent repairs in 1998 and a newer, more durable material will be applied to the surface this time. He said he will meet soon with the contractor to determine a timeline for the work.

James Hervey, the school board's treasurer, said the project will be paid for with funds acquired from $230,570 saved when the board recently refinanced a $15 million bond issue approved by voters in 2000.

The bond issue supported the construction of the Brooke High School Wellness Center and various improvements to other Brooke County schools.

The board met at Colliers Primary School Monday to hear reports from the school improvement councils of that school and Beech Bottom, Jefferson and Wellsburg primary schools. The councils are formed to pursue various improvements to their schools.

Marty Bartz, assistant superintendent of schools, took advantage of the occasion to applaud Jo-Ellen Goodall, principal of Colliers Primary School, and her staff for their prompt response to an incident there on Oct. 10.

Bartz said a man appeared to be attempting to gain access through the locked front entrance.

Finding the man confused and irritable, Goodall ordered the building to be locked down and called the police.

Teachers and pupils remained locked in their classrooms for about 35 minutes while a Brooke County sheriff's deputy was dispatched and the unarmed man was taken into custody so a mental evaluation could be ordered for him.

Goodall said the school district's automated telephone message system was used to alert parents of the situation and the children didn't appear to be bothered much by the interuption. She praised her staff for not panicking when the lockdown was ordered.

In presenting the school improvement council report, Goodall said the school achieved adequate yearly progress, a designation given through the federal No Child Left Behind Act to schools that meet higher standards for attendance, graduation or completion and scores on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test, or WESTEST.

Goodall said the school's fourth graders, who took the test during their third grade year, were presented certificates of achievement at a school assembly earlier this year.

Mark Rihel, principal of Wellsburg Primary School, said 13 computer tablets were purchased last year and pupils have been using them to play games aimed at honing their understanding of vowel and consonant sounds, mathematical principles and other educational concepts.

He said about 200 parents and community members turned out for an open house last week at the school.

Richard Whitehead, principal of Colliers Primary School, said his staff also is working hard to maintain the adequate yearly progress designation and meets weekly to determine how they can best help pupils to master concepts and skills set by the state Department of Education.

He was asked about response to a federal program that has enabled the school to offer free breakfasts and lunches to all of its pupils because of the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced price meals there.

Whitehead said the number of children consuming hot lunches has risen, with about 80 of the school's 97 pupils eating them - up from about 63 last year. He added the 20 children in the Northern Panhandle Head Start program at the school also consume the meals.

Nadine Sweda, principal of Jefferson Primary School, said she and the school's staff have been working to improve students' reading and writing skills through reading logs kept by pupils at home and daily or monthly journal entries recorded by them at school.

She said about 100 mothers accepted a recent invitation to have breakfast with their children, and fathers and grandparents will be invited for breakfast as part of an effort to encourage family involvement in school.

Board President Jim Piccirillo noted the four principals also spoke of the schools supporting such causes as the United Way, American Cancer Society and Ronald McDonald House through various fundraisers and praised the pupils, staff and parents for such endeavors.

The board also:

Approved the $19,918 purchase of a new van from Whiteside Chevrolet to replace one used by the school district's maintenance crews Robinson said must be retired because of its condition.

Approved the hiring of Tim Ennis as a school bus driver, Michelle Casto as an aide at Brooke High School, Marianne Capp as a temporary extracurricular aide at the high school, Helen Furioli as sponsor for the Wellsburg Middle School Special Olympics Support Club; T.J. Taylor as an aide at Beech Bottom Primary School, Ron A. Recchio as eighth-grade boys basketball coach at Wellsburg Middle School; Diane Rasz as seventh-grade boys basketball coach at Wellsburg Middle School.

The board also approved the hirings of substitute personnel and accepted many parent volunteers.

Announced its next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 because the Monday before it is the federal observance of Veterans Day.

(Scott can be contacted at

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