Mon Schools and the SBA Puking on the Public


The Dominion Post reports today that West Taylor Elementary school, in north-central WV, was recently built for 6.6 million dollars by the same architects designing Eastwood Elementary. West Taylor’s capacity is 300 students.

The green school in Berkeley County is being built for a reported 13 million dollars. It has a 600 student capacity.

Meanwhile Eastwood Elementary, including land costs and mine mitigation costs and so on, would cost about 20 million dollars. It would have a 450 student capacity. (The Eastwood schematic design incorporates a complete school of at least 545 student capacity, the construction of which would apparently take the final cost over 21 million dollars. These are only currently known or understood costs; the real expense could be far higher.)

And this is one of the putrid scandals of Eastwood Elementary: the cost. The lack of bang for the buck. And the utter disservice to both Woodburn and Easton elementaries.

If West Taylor Elementary could be built for 300 students at cost of 6.6 million dollars, why could not a new Woodburn school of 300 students be built for about the same price? Subtract 7 million dollars from the 20 million dollar Eastwood price tag, and you have $13 million dollars left over to build a separate green school for Easton, possibly including plenty of money left over to buy land, since this school would also need to be only about 300 student capacity. (Otherwise, Easton Elementary could be built on land Mon Schools already owns, on the 94 acres of University High on the Easton Elementary/North Elementary catchment border. Just so would a new Woodburn Elementary be built on land Mon Schools already owns, the existing Woodburn schoolgrounds.)

Doing this would provide two new schools in good and safe locations, while also providing an ADDITIONAL 150 seats of capacity, at the least (beyond the Eastwood size of 450).

The additional cost – if any – of subsequently operating two schools versus one school is relatively negligible, as even the green school grant application reveals. And even if there is any extra operational cost, the benefits of the additional seating capacity and the far and away improved locations, with all the benefits that exist in modest-sized, well sited, and multiple schools, would prove far and away worth it. Why have one horridly sited school when you could have two well-sited quality schools that combined are far more capacious and serviceable than the one scandalous school?

Mon Schools and the SBA should be called to account.  These two institutions are wasting the public’s money and ill serving the students and the broad community. The WV School Building Authority and Mon Schools, the funders and the operator, are utterly negligent in not providing two such schools. It is proven that they could provide two such schools if they wished to. It’s obvious that they should, as we have been explaining in detail for the past year, and as the broad community desires. Instead, the SBA and Mon Schools are ramming through one deficient and negligent school into big trouble.

As such, the SBA and Mon Schools continue to operate in a manner that is indefensible. They are operating toward ends that are indefensible. Mon Schools and the SBA have chosen to puke on the public, including the students.

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