Fenton site to be studied for new WES

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County school board on Wednesday directed Mike Fling, assistant superintendent of school services, to move forward on the site selection process for a new Williamstown Elementary School.

The board tabled approval of a site in December after questions arose concerning the 11-acre Fenton Art Glass Factory property in Williamstown, which had been identified as one of two possible sites for the new school and was recommended to the board by a school committee.

At the time the board said more due diligence was needed to evaluate the site before making a decision, but on Tuesday Fling said without the board’s approval to move forward, he would not perform that due diligence.

“We need to fish or cut bait, decide what we are going to do and move on,” Fling said. “Right now I’m stuck. I can’t move forward and I can’t go back.”

Many of the questions put forth by the board, such as who would pay for an environmental study of the site and whether any part of the factory or gift shop would remain intact and in operation, would be answered as part of the process, Fling said. Allowing him to move forward on those questions would not obligate the board to purchase the property, he said.

“Get this thing started, Mike,” Board President Tim Yeater said. “Let’s move on.”

The school board also voted 4-0 to change the current school year calendar to make Monday, Feb. 17, an instructional day for students. The board also approved April 21 as an instructional day, but kept April 18, Good Friday, as a non-attendance day for students.