Brooke school board OKs building demolition

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County Board of Education on Monday approved the demolition of the Alternative Learning Center building at 26th and Commerce streets in Wellsburg.

The center was established to provide a more structured environment for students with behavioral issues.

The board accepted a bid of $7,990 from Savage Construction of Wheeling, the lowest of four received for the removal of the 1,300 square foot structure.

The building has been unoccupied since 2006, when the ALC program was moved to a classroom at Brooke High School as a cost-saving measure. Students there complete all of their assignments and eat lunch in the same room, which after school also serves students who have been expelled.

Brooke County Sheriff’s Deputy John White and others have asked the school board to relocate the ALC, saying it’s difficult for students there to understand why they can’t walk the halls as the school’s regular students do.

Rob Robinson, the school district’s facilities supervisor, said the old ALC, with just two rooms, lacks space needed for the ALC and could be replaced by another building at the same site that also could be used for storage.

He noted it and three other modular buildings built by vocational students at the high school sit on about half a block along Commerce Street (state Route 2).

In other business:

The board approved a settlement with Zak Harvey, a former Brooke County teacher and coach, following a grievance filed by him with the West Virginia Department of Education after his termination by the board in October.

Board members said state policy prohibits them from speaking about the agreement, which was prepared by attorney David F. Cross, the board’s legal counsel. Harvey, who was called for comment, also declined to speak.

The board approved compensation for eight athletic coaches, in the amount of $150 or $200 and totaling $1,400, in recognition of the time they put in leading teams to play-offs, a move suggested by Athletic Director Jackie Robinson earlier this year.

The board received a plaque of appreciation from George Smoulder, executive director of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley; and several representatives of the organization and local organizations it supports.

Smoulder said each of Brooke County’s 10 schools has held a fundraiser to benefit the organization, which provides funding to the Brooke County Senior Center, Brooke County Public Library, Brooke County Salvation Army, Catholic Charities West Virginia and many other nonprofit local groups.

The board recognized the Follansbee Middle School eighth- and seventh-grade basketball teams for placing first and second, respectively, in their divisions of the Buckeye Mountaineer Athletic Conference and team members Koty Hudson and Ethan Secrist for receiving the conference’s All-Academic Awards.

Fred McDonald, executive director of the Northern Panhandle Community Criminal Justice Board, invited the board to appoint a representative to the group, which oversees criminals sentenced to home confinement, community service and local day report centers.

Board President Jim Piccirillo, who participated through a telephone conference call, agreed to serve on it.

The board approved the hirings of Brandi Reinacher as a traveling Title I reading instructor, Brianna Staffileno as a special education instructor at Franklin Primary School, Nicole Cowgill as a special education instructor at Follansbee Middle School and the following as substitute teachers: Brooke Smith, Richard F. Nixon, Stanley Robinson, Na-Yung Culley, Tiffany Riggleman, Angela Brncic, Melvin Coleman, Jennifer Fiedorczyk and Helen DeMaria.