MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The state School Building Authority meets in Morgantown Monday at the new Eastwood Elementary School. It will be the last meeting for outgoing SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin. He has taken a new job as the school superintendent of Harrison County and his last day on the job is June 30.
After seven years with the SBA, Manchin said it’s looking forward to a new challenge.
“It’s exciting because you’re back really in the day-to-day operations of the school system, which I’ve always been excited about and have an opportunity to make a difference,” Manchin told MetroNews ahead of the meeting.
He said leaving the SBA is bittersweet.
Since 2006 the SBA has helped pay for $1 billion worth of school projects in every part of the state. That includes nine new high schools, 17 new middle schools and 34 new elementary schools. While he said he’s proud of that fact, his biggest achievement with the SBA has been creating one of the safest school systems in the country.
“We spent more than 35-million dollars just making schools safer. I doubt there’s very few schools in West Virginia you can walk directly into that the School Building Authority has not provided funds for shatter-proof glass and keyless entries where people can’t walk directly into school buildings,” said Manchin.
Manchin stressed by making SBA funds available the community has been willing to buy into new school projects with local funding.
“Fourteen counties have passed bonds in these last seven years. That many had passed them in the past 30 years.”
As for the SBA’s future, Manchin said it’s up to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to name his successor. That could happen as early as Monday morning.