Another large-scale construction project is being planned for McDowell County. With work nearing a completion on the new Renaissance Village project in Welch, school officials are now pursuing a new $5.7 million combined project that will incorporate a new central office and field house, both of which would be located on Tom’s Mountain near the existing Mount View High School complex in Welch.

The Renaissance Village, an effort of Reconnecting McDowell, will provide modern housing for teachers when it is completed. The school system and Reconnecting McDowell hope to have the facility ready for teachers this fall. The teacher village also will have space available for commercial use.

The unrelated field house and central office project will replace the county’s existing central office, a facility that is more than 80 years old. There is very little parking for employees and the public at that facility. A portion of the existing central office also was condemned several years ago and had to be demolished, leaving school administrators with even less room to work with.

If financing for the project is approved, the new central office will become part of a new field house facility that will adjoin the football stadium at Mount View High School, according to board of education member Mike Calloway.

“That is going to be a double-duty building,” Calloway told the Daily Telegraph last week. “It’s been in the planning for some time. It will be on the lower end of the football field. The first floor will be restrooms, a weight room, coaches’ offices; and also running toward the end zone it will have concession stands and public restrooms, also.”

The second floor will house the school system’s central office staff.

The board of education passed a resolution last week seeking to purchase proposed lease revenue bonds for a maximum amount of $5.7 million for the project. Three meetings of the McDowell County Building Commission must be held before the project can proceed.

The dual field house and central office concept is similar to one being used by the Doddrige County school system, according to board of education member David Williams. He said using the arrangement is less expensive than constructing two separate buildings. 

Having attended a number of school board meetings in Welch over the years, we can attest to the fact that the county’s existing central office is an archaic facility that needs to be replaced. And yes, it can be difficult to find a place to park at the current central office, particularly when there is a board meeting that draws a large number of citizens.

The new field house project also is needed and will help to enhance the existing Mount View High School complex in Welch.

It is our hope that financing for this important, combined project, can be secured by school officials. The project would be a win for students, student athletes, parents, teachers and school administrators.

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