Ohio County BOE irons out bond issue details

WHEELING — The Ohio County Board of Education continues to take steps toward completing nearly $76 million worth of improvements to buildings across the district.

Ernie Dellatorre, president of McKinley & Associates — the contractor for the Ohio County Schools facility improvement project — told the board that the firm had been in touch with several surveyors, but the lowest bid for the contracted work had to be passed over as the proposed cost did not reflect the total scope of the work. The project aims to perform renovations and repair work on 13 school buildings within the district.

“We’ve since found out that one of the surveying companies did not include the whole scope,” Dellatorre said. “Obviously, that was the low one because he didn’t include all of it. … He couldn’t meet the schedule we were asking for, so we went to the second lowest. We’re negotiating with them to try to get it to work out.”

Steve Bieniek, business manager for the school district, said Stegman & Schellhase Inc. of Wheeling originally provided an estimate to complete surveying work for not more than $66,820 across 11 locations within the county. The next lowest estimate of $101,000, provided by Dieffenbauch and Hritz of Morgantown, was pursued instead.

Following an hour of deliberation between various representatives and the board of education, discussion of the matter ended without board action.

“We made progress through the process — deadlines, things of that nature,” board President Zach Abraham said after the meeting.

The work comes as part of a total $75.7 million improvement project, including heating and air conditioning work and roof replacement at 13 of the schools in Ohio County. A total of $42.2 million to fund the work was approved by voters in May, while an additional $27 million is expected to come from the West Virginia School Building Authority. The remaining $6.5 million is to come from the district, Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said.

In other matters, the board recognized Amelia Richter, who last month was recognized as 2018 Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the West Virginia Foreign Language Teachers Association. Richter teaches Spanish at Warwood Middle School. Richter will represent the Mountain State at the association’s Southern Regional Conference and has also been named president of the state association.

Richter said she was thankful for having been chosen, and for the opportunity to improve her skills.

“The children I get to teach are amazing,” she said.