Improvements, reorganization underway at Mon County Schools

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Monongalia County Schools continue progress on facility upgrades, according to Executive Director of Facilities Amanda Washington.

Consolidating administrative operations in one location, a STEM addition at M-Tech and adding outdoor classrooms are highlights of the work being done.

Administrative operations will consolidate at the former MedExpress building in Sabraton. Work there has included painting, exterior improvements, carpet replacement and restriping the parking lot. On WAJR’s Ask the Educators, Washington said supply chain issues have slowed the work causing the move in date to be moved, but the work is progressing. When finished offices on High Street, Dorsey Avenue, the Suncrest Center and Westover will move into the building.

“I think we’re in good shape here,” Washington said. “We hope to be able to move in sometime after the new year.”

Bringing all the administrative staff together will make meeting and project development more seamless and streamlined. Additionally, the move is expected to lower utility costs and building maintenance expense.

“It will better opportunity for collaboration between departments and improve production we can just walk down the hall and talk to different departments,” Washington said.

Recently, school officials presented plans to the state School Building Authority for a new Renaissance Academy. The academy is in the ten year development plan and would include STEM and career technical courses. Before the new school is built officials will focus on an addition to the Monongalia Technical Education Center (M-Tech) building that would accommodate STEM learning. Architects are designing spaces that are designed to support learning environments of the future to help those students prepare for the job market. Approval for the addition could come the School Building Authority next month.

“Our project consists of a 7,560-square foot addition three classroom STEM addition to M-TECH that will serve our current our current high schools and future middle school students for the entire county.”

WVU recently launched an esports minor. Economics major at WVU, Noah Johnson just won the Next Madden National Championship and a $25,000 prize. Robotics and technical education have also developed as job creators in the current economy and continue to grow.

“We feel these three- E-gaming, engineering and robotics are very innovative,” Washington said. “We certainly feel like students would be very interested in taking those courses.”

Outdoor classrooms are also coming to the district. Outdoor learning environments also gained importance during the pandemic due social distancing options. South Middle School already has an outdoor classroom and the next is expected to be added at University High School. Others are planned for Morgantown High School and M-Tech.

“They allow students the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but also learn new subjects while social distancing,” Washington said.