Monongalia County BOE prepared to move on Renaissance Academy construction

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Monongalia County Board of Education is moving forward with plans to build a new career and technical education center within traveling distance of their three high schools and the Monongalia County Technical Education Center.

Ron Lytle

Four designs for the proposed 75,600 square foot “Renaissance Academy” were presented to the board at a recent meeting. The designs call for the creation of what Monongalia County BOE President Ron Lytle called a hybrid facility that would include classrooms that support career technical education as well as college preparatory courses. The winning design is expected to be chosen later this year to prepare for the push for funding of what is expected to be a “unique to the region” facility.

“It’s Career Technical Education (CTE), but it’s also CP, which is the college prep part of it,” said Lytle of the new facility.

“So Mon County is taking a step into a leadership position, not only within the state but also within the region,” he said.

The proposed academy aims to be a campus designed to complement the Monongalia Technical Education Center (MTEC) and serve county high school and advancing middle school students. The facility would be located just off of Interstate 79 and would include state-of-the-art STEM classrooms that accommodate career fields in health sciences, technology, and other sectors that would directly benefit the county workforce.

“The kids in robotics, they’re learning how to do robotics now, and you know we got Mountaintop Beverage, which is going to need robotics specialists for their facility,” Lytle said. “We got different manufacturers in town; we got the healthcare system; they need people that understand robotics as part of the future.”

After a design is approved, construction on the facility is projected to cost approximately $80 million if everything remains on schedule for completion in 2027. The project is expected to go through the bonding process to pay for the majority of construction with some funding support on the state and federal levels. Lytle also hopes for some private sector partnerships to help support equipment funding for classrooms as the project comes to fruition.

“We build these partnerships, if we take an example, where someone has provided because of soft costs within the facility, the equipment that we’ll be working on and the equipment we’ll be working with,” said Lytle on the hope for private sector partnerships. “As we partner and try to sell this idea to different industries, hopefully they come on board and help us with that side,” he said.

The facility is expected to receive some federal funding because plans are for it to be built on abandoned mine property. Lytle said the goal for the local school board is to incorporate as many private and local entities as possible in the construction process so that not only funding is supplemented but also the workforce in the county can be supported through several avenues.

“We don’t necessarily only have to worry about kids from Mon County specifically because our work force comes from all over,” said Lytle. “This will be a Mon County initiative but we’re definitely not selfish as far as who we would include and who we would serve.”

Click here to view all four proposals.

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