Wood BOE OKs Fenton letters of intent

By Michael Erb

Special to the Times

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education took another step forward Tuesday toward building a new Williamstown-Waverly Elementary School.

The board unanimously approved a letter of intent to negotiate the purchase of the Fenton Art Glass property in Williamstown. The property will be the site of a new elementary school, which is part of a $41 million bond approved in November by Wood County voters.

The bond also will pay for expansion of Williamstown High School, construction at the Wood County Technical Center in south Parkerburg, and roof replacements throughout the county.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling, who oversees facilities for Wood County Schools and has been lead administrator on the bond project, presented two letters of intent — one for the Fenton factory and an identical letter for the Fenton Gift Shop — to the board Tuesday and asked for approval of both.

“It is extremely straightforward,” he said. “I’ve included that as an action item tonight to keep the process moving forward.”

Board member Jim Asbury, who joined the meeting via teleconference, asked why the gift shop was part of the process.

“The gift shop parking lot, is that necessary?” he said.

Fling said the parcel was part of the same parking lot being purchased; it was just owned under the gift shop rather than the factory.

“It’s part of the tentative purchase price,” Fling said. “This is not an additional property.”

Fling said with the approval of the letter of intent, he anticipates bringing the board an initial purchase agreement by the school board’s next meeting.

“Maybe by April 11 I can have purchase agreement options for you to look at,” he said. “I know that is the portion you are interested in having time to review and time to discuss.”

In other business, the board Tuesday unanimously approved hiring Stephen “Matt” Null, an assistant principal at Parkersburg South High School, as the new principal of Kanawha Elementary School. Null begins the new position July 1.