Schools to explore land deal for new WES

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County school board Tuesday took another step toward building a new Williamstown Elementary School.

The board voted 5-0 to direct Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling to begin discussions on a possible purchase of the Fenton Art Glass property in Williamstown. The property is being looked at as a possible location for a new school to replace the current elementary complex on Williams Avenue between West Fourth and West Fifth streets.

School board President Tim Yeater said the vote simply gives Fling “the direction and latitude” to begin discussion with the current property owners and does not obligate the school system to purchase the property. If those discussions would lead to a need for legal counsel or an expenditure of funds, Fling would bring those recommendations back to the board for approval.

The board had already given permission to Fling to pursue the property, but opted to hold a vote after questions were raised by Gene Bem, president and CEO of USGlass. USGlass has a lease agreement with the Fenton Gift Shop to use the Fenton trademark and had sought to purchase the factory in Williamstown.

“For public clarity, we wanted to make sure this was something we voted on,” Yeater said.

Also Tuesday, the board voted to repay the majority of an outstanding bill for renovations at Parkersburg High School Stadium Field,

The board voted 5-0 to pay 90 percent of an outstanding $455,000 bill owed for work completed on the home side bleachers at the stadium. Board members also voted 5-0 Tuesday to hire the state Auditor’s Office to conduct an audit of the more than $2 million construction project. The board will hold 10 percent of the money owed until the audit is completed.