Fenton demolition to begin this month

WILLIAMSTOWN – Residents should see activity this month surrounding the Fenton Art Glass plant and the site of the new Williamstown-Waverly Elementary School.

The Wood County Board of Education recently purchased the factory, gift shop and surrounding property for the new elementary school, which is expected to open in 2020. Preliminary designs for the building have already been completed.

Last week crews began removing signage on the Fenton Gift Shop.

George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass, said there is yet to be a timeline for demolition, but officials hope to begin in the coming weeks.

“We’re still looking at sometime in October,” he said.

Fenton said officials were still working out the details with contractors who will tear down the building. Fenton said the sale of the property to Wood County Schools has been finalized.

The actual school will occupy the parking lot areas, so officials have said there will be some overlap between construction and demolition. The school’s bus dropoff area and playground will be built where the gift shop and storage facility stand.

Wood County Schools Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling, who oversees facilities for the school system, said officials met with architects and engineers Tuesday morning to review school plans. The district hopes to begin core samples soon, which is the first step before crews break ground on the site, he said.

Fling said the district will hold a pre-bid conference on Jan. 2 for construction of the school and expects to award contracts about four weeks after, pending Wood County Board of Education approval.

Tuesday’s meeting “was concerning heating and air conditioning systems, lighting and plumbing,” he said. “That’s so when we go to bed, we have all of these decisions made and we know we’re staying in budget with this. Anything that would put us over budget would be something unexpected.”

Fling said officials do have some concerns recent storm damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico could cause a surge in material costs as local construction competes with rebuilding efforts in those areas. “I do have some concerns about the recent hurricanes increasing building costs,” he said. “That’s something we couldn’t have anticipated a year ago.”

Fling said the school system now owns the parking lots around the factory and gift shop, which is where the new school will be constructed.

“The second phase of the purchase, the property the building currently occupies, will be completed after the demolition is done,” he said.