CHARLES TOWN – School board members are celebrating af¬ter finding a way to avoid spend¬ing $3 million on a new building to house school buses.
Members of the Jefferson Coun¬ty Board of Education along with Jefferson County Development Authority officials announced that rather than constructing a new bus garage as planned since 2011, they’ll re-purpose a 110,000- square-foot building in the Burr Business Park in Kearneysville.
The Berzaci Co. had owned the building.
“Saving our school system, the county and taxpayers $3 million is a huge accomplishment,” said Gary Kable, school board president. “People came together to do the work and bring this to fruition.”
Kable credited school board members, the county school sys¬tem’s transportation administra¬tors as well as those working in buildings, maintenance, food ser¬vice and legal affairs in crafting the new plan. “It was a coopera¬tive effort,” he said.
The building and its 11.5-acre site is ideal, Kable said, because now other school operations can also be moved there.
He also praised the JCDA as “instrumental” in helping the board with the sale and transfer of the property.
Walt Pellish, president of the Jefferson County Commission, agreed. “Collaboration between county agencies such as the school system and the JCDA is the kind of ‘out-of- the-box’ thinking that will see Jefferson County grow and prosper, ” he said.
Eric Lewis, president of the JCDA board, said the agency ex¬ists to serve the county’s taxpay¬ers. “Collaborating with the Board of Education allowed us to facili¬tate the sale of an empty building in Burr Business Park while serv¬ing the needs of the school sys¬tem,” he said.
Ten bus bays will be put in place in the facility, Kable said, and lighting adjustments must be made and a parts room added. He foresees the new building ready to go by year’s end.