UPDATE: Wood County BOE adds meeting for public input on school construction issue

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The Wood County Board of Education wants to hear from the public about how to fix an issue with the construction of the new building for Williamstown Elementary School.

It added a meeting on Tuesday, July 17th. It’s encouraging the public to give their input on how to ensure unfired glass found on the construction site does not negatively affect the site. The unfired glass was found in June.

At its meeting earlier this week, the board presented 3 options to move forward.

Option 1 involves putting the unfired glass into a sealed vault underground on the property. This could cost roughly $190,000.

Option 2 requires removing the unfired materials completely from the site and putting it in an environmental protection landfill. This comes out to between $400,000 and $1,000,000.

Option 3 involves putting the contaminated dirt and materials into a sealed vault underground on the property and also putting some of it in a different portion of the site that will be covered by a parking lot. This is the cheapest at $100,000.

Wood County Schools Superintendent William Hosaflook said getting public input on these options is vital.

“This is transparency I mean we have to be transparent to be a successful school system and we need that public input to help us in the decision-making process,” he said.

The July 17th meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Board’s central office at 1210 13th Street in Parkersburg.

The board will also have a meeting on July 24th. Hosaflook hopes the board will make a decision on that day. He said that meeting could be held at Jackson Middle School. The board will vote on the venue change at the July 17th meeting.

Once the board makes a decision on the construction issue, the money to cover this comes from contingency funds.

“Sometimes you run into problems that have to be taken care of and the contingency funds are always placed there in case something like this would occur,” Hosaflook said.

“Most importantly the safety of our students is first, safety is the top priority in Wood County.”

The school is expected to open in the fall of 2019.

If the board fails to make a decision by July 24, construction could be delayed.


Wood County Board of Education has come across a bump in the road, concerning the construction of the new Williamstown Elementary School.

Ron Potesta from Potesta and Associates Inc. addressed the Wood County Board of Education Tuesday evening about recent findings.

Contractors found unfired glass as they began removing pavement in one section of the construction.

Potesta turned to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for guidance. They came back with three environmentally safe options for the board to consider.

The options going forward are to remove it all and send it out to a landfill, to excavate it and put it in a vault nearby, or to bury it four feet under the building. All three options are estimated to cost over $100,000, one option could cost up to $1 millon.

The board was immediately concerned with the safety of future students.

"Let's make sure we don't do anything that breeches the safety of our students and our staff and the community, says Rick Olcott, President of the Wood County Board of Education. “Which of these options guarantees that?"

Board member Justin Raber adds, “Is it one where we need to ensure student safety now versus twenty years from now? I think that's the big decision that's going to win all of us.”

The board would like to hear the publics input over the next few weeks as they look to make a decision at the meeting July 24th.

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