PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Update: 6/12/2018
In the months since the former Fenton Glass factory was demolished, making way for the construction of the new Williamstown Elementary School, workers have been busy moving the old, to make way for the new.
"They began removing the parking lots and other pieces of the property, Mike Fling, Assistant Superintendent, Wood County Schools, said Tuesday. "The plant demolition, Mr. Fenton has been working on that with the contractor. All of those are things that have been done in the last few months."
There's little question the new school will be a modern facility, perhaps the most modern in Wood County. But what the school principal is proudest of, is the area around the building, where there will be a playground and athletic facilities.
"My biggest thing is not the inside, but what we can do outside," said Heather Mannix-Bretthauer, Principal, Williamstown Elementary School. "Our students have never had green grass to play on. I'm very proud to put in a basketball area, a walking track with a soccer field in the middle, so we can have places to run and play ball on grass and not concrete."
The facility will accommodate, for the first time, both employees and students with disabilities.
It will take all of the next school year, and into next summer, for the new school to be completed.
Update: 6/12/2018 10:30 A.M.
Groundbreaking is set for Thursday for the new Williamstown Elementary School.
Principal Heather Mannix-Bretthauer told us this morning the event will be held Thursday morning at 11 A.M. School administrators, local and community leaders are expected to attend, including the incoming Wood County Schools superintendent.
The new school is on the site of the old Fenton Art Glass factory, which was demolished a few months ago. Assistant Wood County Superintendent Mike Fling says construction will take place during the next school year, with the new building scheduled to be open in the fall of 2019.
With plans under way to build a new Williamstown Elementary School, there's also discussion about what to do with the old one.
Speaking to the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday night, a member of Williamstown City Council described the current elementary building as being in "deplorable condition".
But councilman Marty Seufer added, if the building is torn down, the city could find some uses for the land it has occupied for more than a century.
"I don't have a solution for tearing down that school. But I know we would be willing as a city to work with you to come up with a solution that makes sense, and we can make that look just as nice as what you're going to make the new school."
Seufer suggested donating part of the old property to the city of Williamstown, possibly for use as a community building or a senior citizens center.
The new elementary is to be built on the site of the recently-demolished Fenton Glass factory.