Mon County BOE selects DLR Group for design of $80 million Renaissance Center

The Monongalia County Board of Education has officially decided to move forward with a design for their future “Renaissance Center.”

The board unanimously approved the design proposed by the DLR Group for the facility, which is expected to serve as a hybrid college preparatory and career technical education center. The facility is projected to cost approximately $80 million and would be located just off Interstate 79, within driving distance of the three county high schools and the Monongalia County Technical Education Center (MTEC).

“After careful consideration on the part of both the administrative staff and the Board of Education, I am going to recommend that we enter into a contract negotiation with the DLR Group,” said Mon County School Superintendent Eddie Campbell.

The design of the hybrid facility is projected to encompass approximately 75,600 square feet. The campus will include an open learning environment with separate learning areas for different vocational areas of study and state-of-the-art classrooms that can accommodate career fields in health sciences, technology, business management, and hospitality. The design by the DLR Group was selected out of four firms that made proposals on the project.

“I could not be happier with the quality of submissions that we got and the quality of presentations,” said Monongalia County Board of Education President Ron Lytle. “It was absolutely excellent, the presentations, from top to bottom,” he said.

Bonding is expected to support the majority of the funding for the over $80 million ‘Renaissance Center’. Funding is also expected to be supported with possible state and federal funds due to its abandoned mine property location. Local private sector partnerships are also expected to be explored to help supplement classroom equipment costs. Negotiations with the DLR Group will need to take place ahead of further funding.

“What we’ll be doing is entering a negotiation phase with the DLR Group for a contract for the Renaissance Academy,” said Campbell on what’s next for the project.

With approval from the board, negotiations can officially begin on the numbers of the contract with the DLR Group, with the aim of discussing bonding by May 2024. Pending no disruptions, the design and construction of the ‘Renaissance Center’ would then be completed, with the goal of being ready by the 2027-28 school year. When completed, the Monongalia County ‘Renaissance Center’ is expected to be a separate learning center that would complement MTEC while serving county high school and advancing middle school students within equal distance for students countywide.

“Once that contract is created, we would then possibly bring it back to you (Montana County BOE) for your approval of the contract,” said Campbell. “To actually engage them as lead architects on the project,” he said.

Negotiations are expected to take place in the summer of 2023.