Upshur County votes on CEFP bond today


BUCKHANNON — Upshur County residents have a big decision looming, as the vote nears to determine the passage of a bond that will impact the local community’s educational system’s infrastructure profounds. The proposed bond will see the School Building Authority (SBA) will provide $21 million to assist in the construction of the new Buckhannon-Upshur High School (B-UHS) and renovations to the new Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School (B-UMS).

The Upshur County School District collaborated with the SBA as the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan (CEFP) was developed. Each school system in West Virginia is required to develop such a plan every ten years. The plan was developed with extensive input from community leaders, educators, business personnel and citizens of Upshur County. Upshur County requested $21 million from the SBA during their presentation on September 27, 2021.

The bond, if approved, will be funded by an additional tax on personal and real property. Class II properties, owner-occupied residential homes, will be taxed at a rate of about 22 cents per $100 of assessed value after the reduction of the Homestead Exemption if applicable. Class III & IV properties, cars, rental/business property and vacant land, will be taxed at a rate of about 44 cents per $100 of assessed value.

If the bond is approved by the community vote on January 15, Upshur County will complete the project within three years of receiving the money from the SBA. The new facility will be constructed on land currently owned by Upshur County Schools, adjacent to Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

This is an opportunity for the citizens of Upshur County to demonstrate their dedication to the children of their community. Everybody pays taxes; most of which, leave the county. The funds generated by the passage of the bond will remain in Upshur County, along with an additional $21 million from the SBA. This investment will be made visible to citizens as a new comprehensive, career technical high school; a state-of-the-art facility that will provide a quality education for generations to come.

The vote to approve the project will have a significant impact on the economy of Upshur County. The influx of construction and utility workers, service employees and other contractors, who will be necessary building the new high school and the renovating the current B-UHS to the reimagined B-UMS, will be tremendous. With a completion window of 36 months, this will be an investment of approximately $2 million each month into the local economy.

Dr. Tammy Samples, President of the Upshur County Board of Education, stated, “This bond is a representation of our citizens’ commitment to construct a new educational facility that will further support the development and success of our youth. We are looking forward to honoring the community’s request in building a new comprehensive, career technical Buckhannon-Upshur High School and reimagined Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.”

The current middle school is nearing a century old and in need of significant repairs. This requires a major financial commitment in order to even maintain an educational environment conducive to learning.

The new facility will serve the students of the future. Education is the great equalizer. Today’s students need hands-on learning opportunities in a simulated workplace environment that allow them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills which they will use in future careers. Our campus will offer a new 210,000 square-foot comprehensive career-technical facility that expands college and career preparatory opportunities.

This innovative campus will support learners at all levels. Students who plan to attend college can take dual enrollment courses to earn credit toward their college degree, with the goal of those college bound students attaining an associate degree upon graduation. This will be a facility that will inspire learning and prepare graduates for vocations yet to be identified and build capacity in entrepreneurial skills.

Graduates who prefer to enter the workforce or military can immediately learn skills or trades to help prepare them for their careers. Meanwhile, students who have not decided on a career path can further explore interests and build skill sets to give them a competitive advantage as they enter the workforce. Students will have opportunities for off-site internships and apprenticeships for hands-on experience in a variety of potential career fields. A critical tenet in education is no longer one path to success; there are now multiple pathways to enable students to evolve into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus stated, “We are preparing our students for jobs of the future that do not yet exist. Our community has been very clear about their expectations for the future of our children. A Career and Technical High School provides the balance between traditional, college bound and career technical programs.”

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