If all goes to plan, Monongalia County voters will be asked to support the Renaissance Academy on their primary election ballots in May.
The Renaissance Academy is the proposed $72 million stand-alone high school devoted solely to science, technology, engineering and math pursuits that Mon Schools wants to have open at least by the end of the decade.
Students from the county’s three public high schools would rotate in and out of the facility for career technical education courses that wouldn’t intrude with the traditional liberal arts offerings required on their daily schedules.
However, before the STEM school can catch the sun’s rays from its planned site overlooking Interstate 79 near Cassville, lots of paperwork has to be moved first.
Board of Education members got an update on that phase of the project during their meeting Tuesday.
The goal is the have a bond election order drafted by December, so the BOE can approve it and send it on its way to the ballot – so voters can consider it during the May primary.
Mon’s voters are traditionally supportive of such initiatives. The district’s excess education levy, which brings an additional $30 million to school coffers, usually passes overwhelmingly come election day.
The academy would need such assistance — both at home, and by way of the state School Building Authority, which also doles out dollars for education infrastructure.
Longtime BOE member Nancy Walker touched on that during brief remarks she made at the start of the meeting.
That was at the request of Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr., given that Walker received some inaugural recognition the weekend before in Charleston.
The West Virginia School Board Association presented Walker, who has served on Mon’s BOE since 1996, with its first-ever Member of the Year Award during its annual fall gathering.
“Her vision has contributed significantly to the formulation and implementation of effective educational policies, programs, and initiatives, resulting in tangible improvements within her educational community,” the association said of Walker’s accomplishments as a local board member.
“As a champion of equal opportunity, Mrs. Walker’s leadership has fostered an environment where each student’s potential is nurtured and celebrated.”
Walker, in turn, said the recognition wasn’t really about her.
She thanked the county at-large for its steadfast support of a school system that generally outpaces its neighbors across the Mountain State.
“We’re very blessed in Monongalia County that we have families that value education,” she said.
“It’s really the citizens of Monongalia County that have allowed us to be successful.”
Tuesday’s meeting began on a somber note: A moment of silence was held for Beth Harvey, the operations officer for the district who died last week after a lengthy illness.
“She was a good friend of everyone on this board,” BOE President Ron Lytle said. “She was really a special person.”
Harvey’s memorial service is 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Calvary Chapel Morgantown, on Tyrone Road.
Her family has set up a memorial scholarship fund in her honor.