Rendering of a potential outdoor eating space/outdoor classroom at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. The announcement of a grant for the project was discussed during Tuesday’s Upshur County BOE meeting. / Submitted photo

Upshur County Schools awarded grant to construct dual purpose outdoor classroom, eating area at B-UHS

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Board of Education members on Tuesday received word about a grant awarded to Upshur County Schools designed to enhance learning and social time at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

During their Tuesday meeting, board members learned the $50,000 grant was issued through the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition and will help in the construction of an outdoor eating area, which can also be used as an outdoor classroom.

The grant comes by way of an ongoing project proposal authored by Upshur County Child Nutrition Director Cynthia Nesselroade and the B-UHS Local School Improvement Council.

Nesselroade said the grant, which will fund the construction of a covering over the courtyard behind the school building, also provides for furniture that will allow the area to be utilized as an outdoor eating space for B-UHS students.

When B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent learned the outdoor eating space was being considered, he suggested combining the outdoor eating space with the LSIC’s long-term plan to erect an outdoor classroom.

“The new construction for the covered outdoor space in the courtyard will serve as a space where students can enjoy the outdoors and be safely protected from the elements,” Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said in a statement following the BOE meeting. “It will offer the school the ability to further enhance our students’ social and academic experiences at B-UHS.”

Stankus told BOE members school officials are excited to focus on creating healthier school environments.

“We know that regular time spent outdoors leads to better mental health and happiness,” Stankus said. “We want that for all of our students and our staff. This is going to be a great space at B-UHS.”

The post-BOE meeting release also noted Vincent said B-UHS, “has a very supporting LSIC and this year, they decided to focus on improving the environment and facility at B-UHS” and that the outdoor eating space/classroom will be a “great addition to the school.”

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, BOE members took the following actions:

  • Received an update from Facilities Director Tim Derico who said that the maintenance staff is working on projects while staff and students are not in the school buildings. He said the staff is working in between helping package and deliver meals to students.
  • Received an update from Treasurer George Carver who said most of the budget is tracking close to the same as last year. Carver told BOE members there could be some issues in the future because folks could be behind in paying their taxes. He also mentioned the potential of a shortfall in the West Virginia budget due to the state budget.
  • Voted unanimously to approve the personnel items as presented following an approximate 15-minute executive session.
  • Voted unanimously to approve changes to the Open Enrollment Protocol and Procedures Policy, which will be effective July 1, 2020. Upshur County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison said the changes to the policy include the fact that students changing to another county for school no longer need the prior county’s release to come to the new county. Harrison said BOEs were mandated to adopt this policy for admission to the county. Harrison said the policy will be available on their website for review.
  • Because of wording in the Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy 3004 and Substance Abuse and Tobacco Control Policy 3005, BOE members had the first reading of the new policies. These policies are available online to review and public comments are being accepted by the BOE.
  • Carver reminded BOE members that while the BOE owns property purchased for a potential new middle school, the BOE does not own the mineral rights for that property – they are owned by Wolf Run Mining. Carver said there is a copy of an agreement by Wolf Run Mining in the BOE Office should any questions surface.

This Upshur County BOE meeting was a teleconference allowing for social distancing. The next regular meeting of the Upshur County BOE is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, beginning at 7 p.m. at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School, located at 16 College Ave. in Buckhannon. BOE members said they hope that meeting can be a face-to-face meeting.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!