Bullshit Elementary

SCHOOL SIZE LIES

WVU would sell seven acres of its dairy farm land at a badly undermined major commuter and commercial intersection to Monongalia County Schools for the purpose of building a “small” energy efficient elementary school. It seems one never knows what one is going to step into at a congested high traffic intersection, does one? Especially when the adjacent land also happens to be part of WVU’s undermined dairy farm. Some big ol’ cowflops maybe?

Architect Ted Shriver in an email to superintendent Frank Devono about the green school, June 2010:

“According to my preliminary calculations the SBA school is 40,500 square feet but to meet your needs it’s really about 65,000 square feet and as discussed last week we may approach a 70,000 square foot building with adequate space and expansion.”

One hopes that Architect Shriver of Williamson Shriver is mistaken in the first figure above. The maximum allowable school size for a school of 450 elementary students is 50,400 square feet not 40,500. Or does Shriver not intend to see the indoor area of  the green school built to the maximum size allowed, at a site where the outdoor conditions range from far less than ideal to highly dangerous?

70,000 square feet? That’s about the maximum size allowed for a school of 700 students.

Easton school: 176 students. Neighborhood Woodburn school: 227 students. Green school capacity, publicly stated: 450 students. Expanded green school capacity, privately indicated: 700 students.

Once again we see Mon County Schools operating in secret, saying one thing privately, misleading people publicly.

Former Board President Nancy Walker:

“The green school [at 400-450 students] will still be a small school.”

Whether or not 400-450 students can be described well or at all as a “small school” may be debatable. But what’s not debatable is that the Mon Schools’ superintendent operates secretly from the public, and deceptively, and possibly likewise with the school board.

Or does Nancy Walker believe a 700 student elementary school is still a “small school”?

And did the school board know:

“Confidentially, the overflow from North [elementary] and [the entire student body of] Woodburn elementary will be placed in this [new green] school.”

Does the School Board want to know yet?

Current Monongalia County School Board President Barbara Parsons:

“I personally resent accusations that we, The Mon County Board of Education, manipulate and mislead the public.”

President Parsons is doing the accusing here.

Facts are not accusations. And the facts show that Mon Schools does manipulate and mislead the public. It does so systematically – secrecy and deception that we continue to document at this site, in black and white.

Most recently, we see that Mon County Schools has kept “need”ed green school size secret not only from the school public but from the public at large, including 705 and Mileground commuters and residents and commercial interests, along with other public entities such as the City, the County, and the WV Department of Highways. Or are certain other public officials also effectively colluding against the public with secret knowledge? What about it, WVU?

The green school site was kept secret until mid-March 2010. In early March, WVU Director of Real Estate Services Shannon Mundell wrote to Superintendent Devono:

It was nice to see that the site has remained confidential in the newspaper. Very surprised. :)

Now, isn’t that cute? What fun it is to keep secrets from the public. Every parent can remember that little bit of secrecy and fun if and when we have to pack our children off in traffic to that hideous site.

Sadly, the school building sizes listed above are maximum building sizes. Evidently more children are allowed to be packed into an even smaller space but are not allowed to enjoy a bigger one. (No matter how green or energy efficient the building?) In other words, at least 700 children are required for a 70,000 square foot school but who knows how many more can be additionally packed into that size or smaller sized buildings at the congested and polluted site.

The 705/119 Mileground intersection site to the shame of Mon Schools the buyer and WVU the seller is not a fit site for any schoolchildren, and it is even less fit of a site for a major expansion, secretly planned to boot.

Board President Parsons ought to point her accusing finger at herself and the rest of the school board and most especially at the superintendent, because the public has many and great reasons to resent Monongalia County Schools as it slithers its way toward building a huge school for little children in pollution, in traffic, in a web of lies.

Nonstop secrecy and deception amount to a big lie. That’s a great lesson for the schoolchildren. And a terrible legacy for the green school as it is currently intended.

At the green school kickoff meeting last week, Dr. Mark Manchin’s repeated emphasis on the “good people” involved in creating the green school sounded odd at the time, a little too seemingly out of the blue. It could make one wonder if we were going to see something not so good in the Mon BOE FOIA documents to be released 3 days later, in addition to the previous crap. Well now, per above, we know.

Would Board President Parsons consider doing the slightly responsible thing and go to WVU President Clements and tell him that the Mon BOE needs better land, or else? Or else the BOE will not pay $2.3 million for terribly sited and entirely undermined land? And whether or not President Clements would tell her to take a hike, would President Parsons consider doing what should have been done in the first place and negotiate a division of the $11.5 million SBA grant: part to rebuild Woodburn area school at Woodburn and the other part to build an Easton area/North overflow school at a reasonable site?

Would the good people kindly step up and get it done, and get it done openly and well?

Or shall we go deeper into the deception and the dirt of the increasingly grimy green school? A Green School on a dairy farm? Nobody talks about it that way. Because it’s more like Bullshit Elementary on a pack of lies.

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