2017 RECAP: Preston schools had busy year 223


MORGANTOWN — Preston County Schools had a busy 2017 that included a lawsuit and the launch of a bus-turned-classroom.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest stories from 2017.

Year-long suit goes on

The Preston County Board of Education started 2017 with a lawsuit against several companies for alleged problems at West Preston School.

The suit was filed in mid-January in Preston County Circuit Court and named Capitol Valley Contracting Inc., of Elkview; Architectural Vision Group Ltd., (AVG) of Cleveland; Lewis Land Profession Inc., of Wadsworth, Ohio; and Great American Insurance Co., of Cincinnati.

It seeks “recovery of damages related to deficient site work, breach of contract, professional negligence, bad faith and negligence surrounding the design, construction and contract administration during the construction of improvements and additions to the West Preston Middle School and Valley Elementary. … ”

The suit claims AVG was negligent in its design of the foundation and Capitol Valley failed to perform site work in accordance with project “drawings, plans and specifications,” despite repeated demands.

As a result, other contractors had to correct the work, the suit said.

At a motions hearing in late December, Great American brought a motion seeking to bifurcate — separate into two parts — discovery on parts of the suit.

And GPD Group sought to have Ebersole Structural Engineers Ltd., of Akron, Ohio, dismissed from the suit. GPD acquired Ebersole, which is dissolved. Both were added to the suit by the board after the initial filing.

Great American attorney Robert Sweeney asked that the judge bifurcate discovery on

the board’s claims of bad faith. The attorney said the requests for discovery were “incredibly broad” and “extremely expensive.”

Preston Circuit Judge Law-rance Miller Jr. denied the bifurcation.

Miller also denied GPD Group’s motion to drop Ebersole from the case. He allowed discovery to continue on the relationship between the two companies. The company’s attorney argued a dissolved entity can’t be sued.

Lewis Land attorney Mich-elle Gorman sought to have her client dismissed from the suit. In court filings, Lewis said it wasn’t responsible for the damages. The judge will rule later on that motion.

The case will continue in 2018.


A new principal

Over summer break Preston High School’s Principal, Da-vid Pastrick, announced his


Pastrick was with Preston County Schools for five years and replaced Karen Finnamore as principal at PHS.

Superintendent Stephen Wotring previously told The Dominion Post he was excited for Pastrick.

“Any time any of us get to the point in our careers where we can say, ‘OK, we’re done, and I think we just want to enjoy life now,’ I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

Steve Plum was hired in July to take over the 1,200 student school.

A school sold

In October the old West Preston Middle School was sold at auction for $120,000.

The Board of Education approved the sale of all five parcels to Roger Street at

a board meeting later in the month.

The biggest lot was 2.286 acres and the smallest was 0.177 acres.

The school’s football field was not sold, as it will be used by a youth football league, Wotring previously said.

Education on the go

Shortly before school started again in August, Preston County unveiled a new mobile classroom.

The “Learning in Motion” bus is filled with science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics activities for all age groups.

The re-purposed school bus was funded through grants and partnerships. Among them — 21st Century Community Learning Centers, BB&T Bank and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

“Not one dollar came from county funds,” Mic-helle Berry, curriculum director, previously told The Dominion Post.

Wotring called the la-unch of the mobile classroom one of the district’s biggest accomplishments of the year.

He said that this summer the program will partner with community agencies to help meet the needs of Preston County residents.

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