WHEELING – Students will enter Wheeling Park High School through new doors in January.
The first phase of a $ 23 million construction project is almost ready, with a new addition and a new entrance to the front of the school nearing completion.
“The new entrance will be conservatively opened in a month, but hopefully it will be ready within the next two weeks,” said Ohio County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Rick Jones. “There are shock absorbers in the addition that have not yet been installed. Once that is done and the Fire Marshal has given his blessing, it will be open. “
Heating and ventilation work in the new space must also be completed, according to Jones. The addition will house the administrative offices, as well as a workspace for the deputy directors and the person in charge of attendance, he said. There is also a new conference room.
A new staircase in the addition leads upstairs to the current media center. Up the stairs are technology and child nutrition offices, as well as a teachers’ lounge and school store.
“Over the next two weeks we will move into the new addition. It’s essential for us, ”explained Jones.
“The secretaries and the main office are in different places. Bringing them back to the main office frees up places for our advisers, and we can start working on their desks.
Already finished in school is another addition housing the wrestling room. This space is finished and used, although some doors have yet to be installed there, according to Jones. The old wrestling room has become a music room, and houses ropes lessons.
Some science classrooms have been upgraded, while others are still in the process of being completed, he said.
“The renovation of the science rooms is underway,” Jones said. “We’re making progress, but we don’t have an end date for this.”
The next step will be a reconstruction of the current media center, which is being phased out and turned into three separate areas: a large manufacturing space, a group test location, and a round meeting room.
Jones said the room is designed as a “cooperative space” where teachers and students can come together and where everyone is equal for discussion.
“We have temporary classrooms there now,” he said. “After the science rooms are done, they can go out of there and go to their new classrooms and we can start working on the media center. “
The new administrative offices under construction all have glass walls opening onto the central corridor, and all activities in the offices and in the corridors will be mutually visible.
An area where the school lockers were placed is now set up as a “robotics arena” used by robotics classes and the robotics team.
A lighted “WPHS” adorns the top of the exterior of the new addition and welcomes visitors to the school. The letters from Wheeling Park High School that previously adorned the front of the building have been moved inside and line the newly constructed stairwell inside the main entrance.
The $ 23 million construction projects are part of a $ 76 million district-wide Ohio County school building modernization, with $ 44 million of the amount voter approved thanks to a levy passed in 2018. The West Virginia School Building Authority provided an additional $ 27 million, and the rest is expected to be offset by energy savings.
The $ 23 million price tag for the renovations at WPHS does not include the additional $ 3.5 million spent to build a new sports field there. There was also talk of buying new turf for the existing $ 1.2 million baseball field outside of bond financing.
Jones said all construction on the high school is expected to be completed by the end of next summer.