(WVNews 5/7) Shepherd University is developing plans for a lab on the bottom floor of the dining hall, which is about 3,500 square feet. It will be outfitted with computer labs, classrooms and conference rooms, which are available for rent at hourly rates and semester rates. The CRI and ABL are open to partnering with community and companies, particularly in the areas of space and curriculum, Martz said. “But at a little bit of a higher level,” he added. Having the lab right on campus makes it easier for students to balance class work and an internship.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 5/8) Thanks to voter approval of Gov. Jim Justice’s $1.6 billion Roads to Prosperity initiative and the Legislature’s approval of a $1 billion bond issue for highway construction last June, more than 30 road improvement projects could get underway this year in Kanawha County. Among the major projects approved for construction in Kanawha County are $10.7 million to rehabilitate pavement on Interstate 77 between the Edens Fork and Tuppers Creek exits; $7.2 million to rehabilitate pavement on Interstate 79 between the Elkview and Clendenin exits, and $1.4 million to resurface Elk River Road.
(WVNews 5/9) “The West Virginia Division of Highways, the West Virginia State Police, as well as other local law enforcement, continue to work together to enact additional safety measures aimed at protecting motorists and construction workers,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “I’ve instructed our personnel to go above and beyond the national safety standards, and we will keep monitoring this situation at all times. Kanawha County may be the first in the state to adopt strict enforcement guidelines for construction zones as Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity construction program kicks off.
(The Intelligencer 5/9) Voters in various townships voted overwhelmingly in favor of tax levies with the exception of an additional levy in Flushing Township that failed by just two votes. Bethesda Village voters decided to renew a 1.5-mill levy for roads and bridges for five years. The measure was approved with 100 people voting in favor and 37 voting against. Flushing Township voters, excluding the villages of Flushing and Holloway, voted against a levy that called for an additional 2.5 mills for roads and bridges for the next five years. According to unofficial totals, 48 voted against and 46 voted in favor.
(WVNews 5/9) After a series of accidents along a stretch of Interstate 64 in Putnam and Cabell counties, state officials are instituting a series of new safety measures aimed at preventing more accidents. Gov. Jim Justice announced in a press release Monday that officials placed rumble strips in the construction zone, and the state recently lowered the speed limit throughout the area to 55 miles per hour.
(MetroNews 5/9) Results from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office indicated 54 percent of Ritchie County voters in Tuesday’s primary voted against the $7.9 million proposal and nearly 46 percent supported it: 1,304 to 1,110. In Ohio County, more than 60 percent of voters, 4,888 to 3,154, cast ballots for a proposed $42 million bond that includes funding for safety and building improvements at 13 schools.
(West Virginia MetroNews 5/9) Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Alisa Bailey says she’s “encouraged” by plans to build a hotel where the former Sears store is located at the Town Center Mall. “We’re anxious to learn more of the details about this deal,” Bailey told MetroNews. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the former Sears store has a buyer. KM Hotels closed on its purchase of the store Wednesday. The hotel developer told the paper they plan on building a self-standing hotel branded by Hilton. It’s unknown what type of Hilton hotel will be on the site.
(West Virginia MetroNews 5/9) Members of the state Board of Education gave approval to the new Nicholas County post-flood school building plan in a unanimous vote Wednesday in Charleston. The plan, which calls for new high schools and middle schools for the Richwood and Summersville areas, is the result of a mediation effort headed up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency which will pay for most of the construction following the 2016 flood that destroyed three schools in the county.
(The Morgan Messenger 5/9) Morgan County Commissioners and Town of Bath officials have both joined an effort by local business officials to seek changes to state Division of Highways (DOH) plans for a U.S. 522 bypass east of Berkeley Springs. Commissioners penned a letter to DOH officials on May 7, supporting the bypass but seeking three changes to published plans for the 4-mile, four-lane expressway. Those requests mirror concerns presented to the county and town last week. Bath mayor Scott Merki asked the Bath town council to allow him to write to the state to request the same changes to the proposed bypass route around Berkeley Springs.
(West Virginia MetroNews 5/9) The first meeting regarding toll changes on the West Virginia Turnpike will be held Thursday at Riverside High School in Quincy. The changes include increasing the cash fee from $2 for a passenger vehicle to $4 per passenger vehicle beginning in January 2019. In addition, a Single Fee Discount Program will be offered through December, allowing drivers to pay $24 to use the tolls over three years. An annual pass of $25 will be offered beginning January 2019.
(The Journal 5/10) Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Executive Director R. Steve Catlett proposed an alternative solution to repairing the county’s 43-year-old outdoor Lambert Pool: A joint county-city partnership with Berkeley Medical Center to build an indoor swimming pool. Appearing before the council Wednesday afternoon, Catlett described in broad strokes a possible joint partnership whose membership could include the MBCPR, Berkeley Medical Center, Berkeley County Schools, Berkeley County and the city of Martinsburg to build an indoor swimming facility that, based on current estimates, would cost between $12 to $15 million.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/10) City Engineer Joe Tucker reported to council Wednesday that three bids came in for River Trail Phase V. But those bids fell 59 percent to 70 percent over the Ohio Department of Transportation estimate of $1.622 million. The city’s estimate of $2.02 million was also under the three bids from Righter Company Inc., Kelly Paving, Inc. and Alan Stone Co., Inc., which ranged between $2,594,067.73 and $2,762,187.56.
(The Journal 5/10) Berkeley County officials are looking at bringing a new layer of high-speed broadband to the county. Berkeley County Development Authority members have informally met with an unnamed cable operator about the logistics and cost of laying out a high-speed fiber optic network in the county to draw high-tech companies to the area, according to BCDA board member Hunter Wilson, who oversees its infrastructure committee.
(The Intelligencer 5/10) Bethlehem Village Council has approved spending up to $75,000 of additional funds to repair a slip that occurred three months ago on Oak Drive Circle. Village Engineer Jack Tush said it will take $50,000 to $75,000 for the general contractor to complete building a large stone retaining wall, install a drainage system and make the repairs to the slip and surrounding area near Memorial Park. (Contractor: Savage Construction Co.)
(The Intelligencer 5/10) Several months of work have paid off as Marshall County and Moundsville officials gathered Monday to commemorate the completion of a new garage for the city’s street department. Employees from Quality Construction have been working since February. They quickly erected the building frame during the first week before working through wintery conditions late into April to finish the garage meant for the city’s garbage trucks and other heavy equipment.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 5/10) Local business owners with a stake in Mercer County’s growing tourism industry are being encouraged to attend an upcoming meeting about how upcoming work on Interstate 77 could impact this year’s tourist season. A meeting for local tourism and travel business people about the impact of planned Interstate 77 construction will have on the local tourism industry will begin at 9 a.m., May 15 at the Quality Inn in Bluefield, Executive Jamie Null of the Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau said.
(Kallanish Energy Daily News & Analysis 5/10) The company behind the $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline has won approval from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, but it is continuing to fight with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Kallanish Energy reports. On Tuesday, West Virginia said erosion control and sediment problems along two pipeline laterals have been corrected. The problems along the Sherwood Lateral and the CGT Lateral had caused West Virginia to halt pipeline construction on March 7.
(West Virginia MetroNews 5/10) At their monthly meeting Thursday at Tamarack, the West Virginia Parkways Authority approved a couple of purchases and prepared for a series of public meetings being held across the southern region of the state. In anticipation of high demand for the proposed single fee discount program, the group approved the purchase of 150,000 EZ Pass transmitters costing $1,110,000. The proposal would allow transmitter holders to only pay a one-time rate of $24 for three-years of unlimited use of the West Virginia Turnpike if they purchase before January 1, 2019.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 5/10) West Virginia is at the center of a massive shift within the global energy markets that will profoundly reorder the state’s economy for generations to come. Its impact is already being realized in the natural gas industry, whereby West Virginia-based operations are now producing so much dry methane and natural gas liquids (NGLs) that they are both being exported internationally. And depending on key decisions within the global petrochemical industry, the Mountain State could become the home of manufacturing operations utilizing those liquids here in addition to transporting them to other locations.
(The Herald-Dispatch 5/10) U.S. 52 is reduced to one lane through the village of Hanging Rock as part of a resurfacing project, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. It is part of several projects planned this summer by the Department of Transportation. The paving project is between County Road 23 (Ohio Furnace Road) and Rock Avenue, according to a news release.
(West Virginia MetroNews 5/10) The state School Building Authority made it three for three for the Nicholas County post-flood school building plan when it approved the proposal Thursday afternoon. The SBA vote combined with approval votes earlier this week from the state Board of Education and Nicholas County School Board moves the plan forward for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to consider for funding.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 5/11) By the end of next week, work on repaving sections of Interstate 77 in Mercer County – and the detour that goes with it – should be in full swing, Mercer County’s sheriff and chief deputy said Thursday. Preparations for alerting motorists about the Mercer County’s detours are already underway, Chief Deputy Capt. Joe Parks said. Signs are going up in Bastian, Va. to alert motorists about the detour. Parks and Sheriff Tommy Bailey estimated that the I-77 work will be fully underway by the end of next week, on May 18 or 19. Parks said the department received the information from West Virginia Paving, Inc., the contractor handling the repaving work.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/11) In a unanimous vote Vienna City Council approved the purchase of a new fire suppression system for the city’s information technology data center in city hall. During Thursday’s meeting, Mark Moriarty, of Brewer and Company of West Virginia, demonstrated the fire system. He said the system is the latest in fire suppression systems, and the fire suppression material in the system dries quickly. Council approved a resolution authorizing a contract with Reclaim Company, LLC for the removal of buildings and structures containing transite and other asbestos materials in the former Johns Manville industrial site.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/11) The Wood County Board of Education meets in special session Saturday to again consider a motion to pay for new bathrooms at Erickson All-Sports Facility as well as more than a million dollars in additional projects at the district’s three high school athletic facilities. The meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wood County Schools central office at 13th and Plum streets in Parkersburg. The meeting is open to the public, but those wishing to address the board must fill out and submit a comment card prior to the start of the meeting.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/11) Long-term improvements, including a tennis facility, a dog park and a multi-purpose center, could be made to City Park and Southwood Park in the coming years, according to a new master plan presented to the city’s Public Works Committee. Representatives from Pickering Associates made a presentation Thursday to the committee as well as other city officials. The committee did not have a quorum, so the presentation was informational only with a recommendation for additional work to be done for a presentation to Parkersburg City Council in the near future.
(The Dominion Post 5/11) The pedestrian bridge crossing Deckers Creek is almost in place. On Wednesday May 9, a crane and the two sections of the bridge were brought to the area underneath the Walnut Street Bridge, where the span will be placed. Crews welded the pieces together Thursday May 10, and then tested those welds to make sure the bridge would hold up. (Contractor: Green River Group, LLC)
(The Intelligencer 5/12) To ensure the ground can support a $10 billion ethane cracker, officials are testing the soil at the former R.E. Burger plant along the Ohio River in Belmont County. Nearly two years ago, the 854-foot-tall smoke stack at the site fell to the ground after an organized sequence of explosions. Last summer, officials with Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical paid $13 million to acquire this property.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 5/12) The Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine will see major renovations this summer, thanks to a $1.5 million award from the Virginia Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program.Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-9th District, secured the funding with the goal of improving the state’s coalfields economy and was on hand to celebrate the announcement at the mine on Friday. “I am tickled pink to be here with you today,” he told a crowd gathered in the museum, including sixth-graders from Abbs Valley Elementary School. “I am happy to help (with securing the funding) but the local team did the hard work.”
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 5/12) Preliminary work on a $24 million repaving construction project along Interstate 77 in Mercer County will begin on Monday, the West Virginia Department of Highways confirmed Friday. “Beginning Monday, we are calling it our initial work,” Brent Walker, a communications director for the DOH in Charleston, said. “Actually, we could even call it our initial set-up work or preparation. They are going to begin placing signs up Monday and putting traffic control in place.”
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/13) In a contentious special meeting Saturday, the Wood County Board of Education approved a handful of athletic facility projects, though members disagreed how those projects would be funded. The special session began at 11 a.m. Saturday and was scheduled to last one hour but ran nearly a half hour over into time allocated for executive session interviews with candidates for Wood County Schools superintendent.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/13) “Put the phone down and just slow down,” was the simple message from West Virginia Transportation Secretary Tom Smith, as he spoke last week during the announcement of a zero-tolerance policy for those speeding through road construction zones. This time, the impetus may have been multiple accidents resulting in three deaths, on Interstate 64 in Cabell County.
(The Herald-Dispatch 5/13) Work is scheduled to start this week on a nearly $600,000 project to add turn lanes at several sites along U.S. 60 west of Ashland between Kentucky 180 and the Summit area, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The work is scheduled to start Monday, May 14, on the new turn lane near Shopes Creek, according to a news release. The projects will lead to lane closures and one-lane traffic along U.S. 60 during daytime work hours. (Contractor: Mountain Enterprises, Inc.)
(The Journal 5/13) An unnamed developer is looking to purchase and redevelop the Kings Daughters Court affordable senior housing complex located in the city’s town square area, according to an attorney representing the developer who appeared before the Martinsburg City Council at its Thursday evening meeting. To help fund construction, the council approved the issuance of up to $7 million in housing bonds to be loaned to the Kings Daughters Court, LLC to purchase and renovate the multi-family housing unit.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 5/14) The trees overhead cast their shadows onto the road below, making it hard to see the rough patches heading up Washington Street onto Cisler Drive. “People are often crossing over into the opposite lane to avoid it if you know it’s there, but that’s scary too because they’re coming around a blind curve,” said Rita Beck, 76, of Marietta.
(The State Journal 5/14) Members of the state’s Board of Education gave approval on May 9 to a Nicholas County plan to rebuild and relocate a handful of schools after they were destroyed in a June 2016 flood. The approval marks the end to a hard-fought and often emotionally charged battle over how to rebuild. The plan, if given final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will see Richwood Middle and Richwood High schools rebuilt onto an elementary school in that city and a new consolidated school campus built in Summersville.
(The State Journal 5/14) Douglas Tate, whose information technology company is installing 35 miles of high-speed fiber-optic cable linking Charleston, Kanawha City and South Charleston, reports the ambitious project is roughly 70 percent complete. Work on installing the cable began last June and “now, we’re about 90 days from being done,” said Tate, president and CEO of Alpha Technologies, Inc. Based in Hurricane, the company also operates a data center at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 5/14) With an exchange of gifts, the West Virginia National Guard formalized a relationship with the tiny but prosperous Middle East nation of Qatar. “This is the lineage of the West Virginia National Guard, and we’re excited to be your partner,” National Guard Major General James Hoyer told the delegation from Qatar, presenting artwork depicting the “Beeline March” of 1775. He said the partnership with Qatar will prove valuable when West Virginia hosts more than 50,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders from more than 120 counties for the World Jamboree in 2019, and again when Qatar hosts the World Cup soccer tournament in 2022.
(The Dominion Post 5/14) Preston Commissioners agreed to write a letter supporting Tunnelton area residents’ request for a bridge to replace the underpass. Lana Rhodes of the South Preston Neighborhood Watch said more than 1,000 people have signed a petition, asking that a bridge be constructed between South Street and W.Va. 26 to connect the two side of town. As previously reported, the underpass, owned by CSX, takes pedestrian and car traffic under the railroad tracks. It is the most direct connection between the two sides of Tunnelton. Mariann Plum said when it floods, the Tunnelton Volunteer Fire Department has to take a detour that costs it response time.
(The Dominion Post 5/14) Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners (BOPARC) Executive Director Melissa Wiles said work to replace a historic stone wall around Jack Roberts Memorial Park should be complete this fall. The 4-foot stone wall partially surrounding the 1st Ward park stood intact for at least 100 years before March 2015, when the northern end of the structure collapsed. Last August, BOPARC opted to use a $20,000 grant from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Foundation to fix the crumbled section of the wall. (Engineer: The Thrasher Group, Inc.)
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 5/15) The Clendenin branch of the Kanawha County Public Library, which has been closed since the June 2016 flood, is to reopen in a new place May 30, according to the library system’s director. Alan Engelbert said Monday that work continues to ready the library in the former Clendenin Middle School. Also Monday, the board hired Charleston-based David Pray and his company, PrayWorks LLC, as “owner’s representative” on the project to renovate and expand the main library location in downtown Charleston. Jaensson said Pray will begin working this month.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 5/15) School officials and state and local dignitaries gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mountain Valley Elementary School Monday afternoon. The $12 million school, which will serve the Ceres and Cumberland Heights area as well as part of Glenwood, will be located on 23 acres off Blue Prince Road and excavation will start within two weeks. The West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) gave $7.8 million for the school and the county $4 million. Paul Hodges, board of education chairman, said a new school offers a “new beginning” and helps provide the “best education possible.” (Architects: ZMM Architects, Inc.; Contractor: Brewer and Company of West Virginia)
(The Herald-Dispatch 5/15) Work to transform the former Morris Memorial Hospital into a resort called the Grand Patrician continued on Monday in Milton. Patrick Cooper, an air technician with Triad Environmental of Huntington, said one of the first steps is to remove all of the asbestos from the property. "Before anyone else can come in here and do their jobs on this project, we have to get all of the asbestos removed," Cooper said. "I guess you could say we are one of the first teams to come in on this massive project."
(The Herald-Dispatch 5/15) The Cabell County Board of Education will discuss Tuesday evening, May 15, whether to replace the track and turf field at Cabell Midland High School. The board's regular meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the board's central office at 2850 5th Ave. in Huntington. The two projects cost a combined $728,104 - $439,304 for the turf, $288,800 for the track - and would be completed by FieldTurf USA. Funding would be provided through the district's excess levy, which was approved through 2024 during a countywide vote in the May 8 primary election.