Our Board of Education is in the midst of our 10-year cycle to conduct our Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP). We are required by the West Virginia Board of Education Policy 6200 to do this. However, planning is wise. We have a win/win situation.
Everything has a season! Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, according to the Bible, built a beautiful temple. He said:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;...”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 (King James Version)
Our public meeting culminating in more than a year’s planning was held at Buckhannon-Upshur High School on October 19, 2020. We have scored ourselves on previous long-term goals and objectives for the past 10 years. Some goals are met, and some are not. Unfortunately, we did not build a new Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, as our voters did not pass a bond. However, we kept our old and paid-for building functional, thanks to our dedicated maintenance service personnel and Tim Derico, Facilities Director.
And we strategized our planning for the next 10 years. Our Upshur County Schools motto is “EXPECT EXCELLENCE.” That is what we did. We anticipate technology changes for curriculum delivery, as models are changing. Computers become more powerful and more compact. Virtual learning, well underway due to the coronavirus pandemic, can be expanded.
During earlier 10-year planning cycles, our citizens decided to keep seven elementary schools open, geographically spaced throughout our Upshur County School District. Thank goodness for wise planning, allowing our young students the opportunity to be educated close to their homes, thus upholding our ideal of mountaineer neighborliness. Now in this current 10-year comprehensive educational facilities plan, our BOE wants pre-kindergartens and kindergartens at all of these schools, strengthening family bonds further.
Furthermore, our mission, which includes “employability” for our graduates, can be improved upon if we build a new center of excellence Buckhannon-Upshur Career Technical Education (CTE) High School. Truly this is exciting. That would also allow our B-U Middle School to have updated, however not new, teaching and learning space for our 6th through 8th grade students. They could take over the 1976 current high school, which would be an improvement on the 1925 school they now occupy (which includes the ancient Upshur High School building making up the core, plus additions over the years).
My pleasure is to serve on the administrative board of the Fred W. Eberle Technical Center, West Virginia’s first multi-county technical center, which is also up for a comprehensive educational facility plan. The past 52 years of improving employability has been quite an accomplishment. Just to show we lead—now there are seven West Virginia multi-county technical centers.
Population in West Virginia has been on the decline. Yet, Upshur County holds our own. We remain AAA for sports and academic competition. Upshur is ranked 25th of 55 counties in population in our state. This gives our students extra opportunities in curriculum. We are exceedingly proud of our band, choral, art and languages endeavors. These learning centers require specialized space, thus our planning process includes building for growth for our students. We want our students to be well prepared for excellent careers and professions.
Upshur County Schools under the banner of B-U High attest, and our Alma Mater sings: “We attend with hearts of gladness, All for thee we strive.” The next 10 years look mighty fine due to wisdom in the striving to build up with a new Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan.