Randy Yohe Published

School Building Authority Listens To School Proposals This Week

lady at podium speaking to people at long tables.
Wyoming County Superintendent Diedre Cline makes her SBA presentation.
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Wyoming County School’s Diedre Cline is one of 27 school superintendents making NEEDS Project Presentations this Monday and Tuesday. These school districts are vying for millions in state funds. 

Cline is requesting the SBA approve funding of nearly $16 million to help build a new PK-8 school in Mullens. The new school would combine and replace two subpar, unsound buildings. Mullens Elementary was built in 1951 and the wood framed, fire hazard Mullens Middle School, built in 1928. 

“Both buildings are seriously ending their lives, so to speak, as buildings do,” Cline said. Wooden structures can become dangerous. This my eighth year as superintendent and that’s been a worry, more than anything else I’ve worried about. We want to do better by the children in Wyoming County.”

Cline said the state funds would be used in partnership with a local bond share of nearly $9 million. 

‘Our county citizens have supported education in Wyoming County for decades,” Cline said. “We’ve actually had an excess levy passed by the citizens of Wyoming County every time it’s come up every five years since 1927.” 

The SBA’s square footage cost allowance, stymied by the pandemic and inflation, was recently raised from $300 dollars to about $440 per square foot.  

SBA Executive Director Andy Neptune said the new allowance should diminish, if not eliminate, the construction project budget overruns that the authority can no longer afford to supplement. Now, any costs beyond the allocated state funds will have to be paid by the county.

“We have gone back and talked to those superintendents,” Neptune said. “They’re the ones that deal with the architects and the engineering firm. We said tighten this up, because supplemental funds will not be there. I think that they’re prepared for that.”

Cline said Wyoming County is more than prepared to stay within a sound construction budget. She says if something unforeseen happens, the county taxpayers will cover the tab. 

Find the school district NEEDS project proposals here. The SBA will vote Dec. 11 on which projects get funded.