FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Marion County Board of Education is hoping voters and the School Building Authority approve of their $19.9 million bond for the district improvement plan.

Superintendent Donna Heston said the proposed projects are a mix of repairs, renovations, and new construction for academic and athletic facilities. The projects include a new elementary school in the East Fairmont area and improvements to all three high schools: Watson Elementary School and Barrackville Elementary/Middle School.

“It is definitely something that is rooted in supporting our students and making improvements to their learning environments as well as their overall experience in Marion County Schools,” Heston said.

The new K–4 elementary school in East Fairmont would replace East Park and Pleasant Valley Elementary Schools. Improvements to Watson Elementary School include a classroom addition to replace a modular trailer, and the Barrackville facility would add two classrooms and a 7,000-square-foot gymnasium.

Each of the high schools is slated for a $3.2 million investment that will address stadium improvements that will include bleachers, turf, a security access road, and other repairs.

“We have selected three elementary projects and three facilities that serve our athletics here in Marion County,” Heston said.

Heston said they will request nearly all of the funding for the elementary school through the SBA. The board of education has submitted a request to the SBA to amend the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) for the facilities, along with a conditional funding request.

“We are requesting and will submit an application to the School Building Authority (SBA) for $20 million of that project, so the local commitment for that project will be $3.7 million,” Heston said.

Heston said the projects depend on the approval of Marion County voters in May and the SBA. Without approval from both sides, Marion County Schools could have to delay the improvement plan.

“So there are districts that have passed the bond with their voters and they have not secured SBA funding, so they have had to hold those projects until they secure SBA funding,” Heston said.

The projects and cost figures have been reviewed by a 30-member bond committee of residents and principals from select schools. The committee started with an extensive wish list of projects that was trimmed after review and public meetings.

“We have spoken to civic organizations, Rotary clubs, the Knights of Columbus, as well as individual voters and groups of voters,” Heston said.