Wood BOE donates former Willard School

The Wood County Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved donation of the former Willard School and Wood County Emergency Services building to Holiday in the Park. Last year the board unsuccessfully attempted to auction off the property. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education has approved the donation of an Old Staunton Avenue property to Holiday in the Park.

The board unanimously approved conveyance of the building to Holiday in the Park, which for years has used a portion of the building for storage.

The building was originally Willard School, but years ago was deeded to the Wood County Commission for use as the headquarters of Wood County Emergency Services.

In April 2019, the county commission vacated the property, returning the ownership of the board of education. Wood County Schools unsuccessfully tried to auction the building in June 2019, but received bids of only half the $60,000 minimum required.

Under state law, the school system can only auction property or donate it to qualifying organizations. Holiday in the Park is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization and is responsible for the annual holiday displays at Parkersburg City Park.

“We are able by statute to provide real estate at no cost to 501c3 organizations,” said board President Justin Raber, “so we are doing that via statute.”

Board member Rick Olcott, who last year was board president, said the property returning to Wood County Board of Education ownership while still being used by Holiday in the Park had presented challenges and uncertainty, but he applauded the board’s decision Tuesday.

“Holiday in the Park does a tremendous amount of good for this area, especially during the holiday season,” Olcott said. “This is a smart move and a win-win, both for the board of education and this organization.”

Officials with Holiday in the Park could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today