NEW CUMBERLAND - The Hancock County school board is wasting no time in moving its maintenance department from Weirton to a more central location in the county.
The board's pending agreement with the Hancock County commissioners for the sale of Newell Memorial Field and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton gives it 36 months to vacate the Weirton maintenance building. But on Monday, with the sale still pending, the board took the first step in the relocation process.
The board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Suzan Smith to draw up specifications for a new building, estimate costs and secure contractor bids.
"This is very preliminary," Smith said.
The building, currently located on the grounds of the old Weirton stadium, houses the school district's maintenance personnel, tools and equipment. A new building will be built on school district land off Rockyside Road behind the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center, Smith said.
"We've already surveyed the land, so we know we have enough space to build it on," she said.
Smith said she doesn't know how much the building will cost but "we have an idea. We did get some estimates."
The building likely will be 10,000 square feet - big enough to house the maintenance department and meet some of the district's storage needs, said Mark Dziatkowicz, district facilities director.
"The building we're looking at is an open-span steel building similar to a bus garage," he said.
Dziatkowicz said the building likely also will house special education equipment, transportation equipment, custodial supplies and excess lunch tables, desks and chairs.
"I don't want to see a Taj Mahal built for a maintenance building," said board member Patsy Brancazio. "That's not what a maintenance building is for."
Smith said the district has no firm timetable for when the department will move to the new building.
Also Monday, the board learned that the renovation of Allison Elementary School in Chester is ahead of schedule and may be done by April. Ron Blatt, project manager for Project and Construction Services Inc. of Wheeling, said the renovation of New Manchester Elementary School is moving slower than at Allison but is on schedule.
Both elementary schools are getting three new pre-kindergarten classrooms, in addition to a multitude of other improvements. Allison also is getting a new physical education room.
Blatt said there were about $44,000 in unanticipated costs associated with the work at Allison, including the demolition of a foundation below the playground.