The Roads Of Hell


Last night at the school board meeting, the architect hired by the board, Ted Shriver, presented 2 new bubble depictions for the possible configuration of the green school. The slightly shifted building (there could only be a slight shift given space constraints) was the first of a number of items one might note.

And then came the staggering comment from President Barbara Parsons. She wondered during board-hired architect Shriver’s presentation if the impending roundabout was actually going to be located as he depicted it, far removed from the current intersection, placed up in the field much closer to the intended new consolidated “green” school. For a moment Shriver hesitated, before replying that he had merely overlain the WV Division of Highway design for the impending intersection shift. In other words, yes, the intersection is set to be right up close to the school. This has been known since April, six months ago.

Architect Shriver might have added that he had rather accurately hand-drawn that intersection shift and presented it to the board during the June 8th special meeting, when Barbara Parsons and the rest of the board had reaffirmed their initial (March) approval of the site. He might have added that two of the five school board members (one including the BOE Vice-President) are two of the four MPO officers (one including the MPO President) who coordinated the WVDOH meeting in Morgantown in April where the DOH/MPO presented the same intersection shift and road expansion design diagrams.

Is the intersection really going to be there? the Board President asked.

This is what is happening in Monongalia County Schools. The Superintendent recommends a site that he obviously should not recommend for various health, traffic, pollution, education, and community reasons. And the BOE either callously or carelessly rubber stamps it. Is the intersection really going to be there? No, the DOH and the MPO have just been doodling these many months. And the public has raised an outcry this whole long time, over the dire fate of their children, about sheer figments of their imagination!

Well now you know President Parsons what you should have known all along. And you voted anyway last night to send a statement of intent to WVU for the BOE to purchase that dirty, sickening, and potentially deadly land there. How close to air poison is too close, President Parsons? As Education Director at Monongalia General Hospital you should know better. The whole board, and its superintendent, should know better.

Also of note is that the BOE intends to purchase more acreage at the site than it has ever previously publicly discussed buying. At the meeting, Superintendent Devono asked architect Shriver to outline the parcel of land to buy from WVU. The university has asked for a statement of intent from the BOE about buying the land. Shriver outlined the parcel and Devono asked the board to approve a statement of intent which the board then voted to approve to purchase 8.85 acres from WVU. The board did not ask the selling price, whether the per acre cost had changed or might change. And what about the total cost, which is for greater acreage than ever discussed publicly before? Nor did any board member ask why the BOE would be purchasing the portion of the land that Shriver had just shown that lay under the new coming road and even a bit slightly on the other side of it.

(We might presume the DOH will buy that land from the BOE to build the road on…but how much will the DOH buy and at what price…and how much land would the school finally wind up with…and why is nearly 9 acres required and approved without question for purchase of a supposedly 7 acre school?)

Why has no board member nor the superintendent publicly asked or commented on how close the school buildings and playgrounds will be from the loud and polluted highways and intersection?

Additionally of note, there may or may not be an alternate access road to the school from WV 705 (and 705 only) and if there is it will be expensive, according BOE Vice-President Statler, and if there is not, there will be no other road to access the school which obviously makes the risk of entrapment that much greater, especially if there is an accident or simply gridlock in the intersection.

There is no way to overstate the unconscionable degree of negligence involved in recommending and approving a school for small children along those badly polluted highways and at that badly polluted intersection. The pollution will only increase, worsening year by year by year.

Does the school board really know what it is doing? Does it really care? There is precious little evidence that it does.

Will the intersection really be there?

Oh, yes.

Will the school?

It had better not be.

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