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December 14, 2013

BOE approves purchase of armory

FSHS has first option to schedule activities

FAIRMONT — At a special session Friday afternoon, the Marion County Board of Education approved the purchase of the National Guard Armory facility on Mary Lou Retton Drive.

Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said the facility will be used predominantly by Fairmont Senior High School.

“They will have the first option to schedule activities there,” Price said. “It’s our understanding that they will have their boys’ and girls’ basketball games and wrestling in that facility.”

According to Price, FSHS, as well as other schools in the county such as Barrackville Middle and Monongah Middle, have used the facility for several years, but being able to call it their own will be a benefit to students.

“It will be nice to have a gymnasium that’s truly theirs now,” Price said. “Before, it wasn’t their property. They were simply renting it on a night-by-night basis.” 

The total cost of the facility is $300,000, which Price said will come from carryover funds.

“It’s a very reasonable price,” Price said.

Board president the Rev. James Saunders and board members Sis Murray, Richard Pellegrin and Dr. Babette Simms were present at the meeting and voted to approve the purchase.

“It’s a very proud moment for this board to finally get possession of the armory for our children in Marion County,” Murray said.

Simms said that gymnasium space is something that has been needed within the county for some time, and the armory facility will finally be able to provide that.

“Our gyms are just so overused and overbooked, so this is such a wonderful acquisition,” she said

Saunders said that while the facility is to be used primarily by FSHS, it has the potential to serve other purposes as well. He suggested that the facility be used for events such as graduation and also recommended that consideration be placed on moving some office spaces to the facility as well.

According to Price, the location and spaciousness of the facility will allow it to be used for a variety of activities.

“We will take a good look at that facility and try to make the best use of the space that’s possible,” he said. “It’s in a very nice location with plenty of parking and plenty of space, so we’re looking forward to it.” 

Email Kaylyn Christopher at kchristopher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.

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