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Mon Schools receive money for MTEC after all

The venue couldn’t have been more appropriate, Eddie Campbell Jr. said Thursday.

Campbell, Monongalia County’s superintendent of schools, was talking about Gov. Jim Justice’s appearance the day before at the headquarters of the West Virginia Lottery in Charleston.

The governor was there to preside over a meeting of the state School Building Authority, the agency that doles out dollars for school building infrastructure projects across West Virginia’s 55 public districts.

“This was a jackpot for us,” said Campbell, who was there and got to take home nearly $5 million for Mon.

Justice was there to present checks to 19 districts, including Mon, that had previously been denied in December.

The local district had unsuccessfully petitioned for money to add e-gaming and robotics classrooms to MTEC, the Monongalia County Technical Education Center.

Mon last fall had also asked for monies for Mountainview Elementary, so it could revamp Safe Schools entrances at the building on Green Bag Road while also making needed roof repairs to the facility.

All told, Mon Schools received $4.4 million for the METC additions and $887,000 for the Mountainview repairs and updates.

For Campbell, who is also an avowed baseball fan, it was two strikes and you’re in — especially for the tech center.

In recent years the district had gone to bat with SBA twice to petition for dollars to add robotics and e-gaming classes to the MTEC campus on Mississippi Street, and twice the authority said no.

The surprise award, he said, couldn’t have come at a better time.

That’s because the district is banking that voters next month will say yes to a nearly $142.6 million bond that would be used to build the Renaissance Academy — which would be West Virginia’s first standalone high school for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

If the academy gets built, the existing tech center would be reconfigured to offer career technical education to Mon’s middle-schoolers.

“This is really the first step for the Renaissance Academy,” the superintendent said.

Meanwhile, the group Friends of the Renaissance Academy is hosting a panel discussion about the proposed STEM school’s potential to the region at 3 p.m. April 12 at South Middle School.

Along with Campbell, the panel includes Morgantown Area Partnership President and CEO Russ Rogerson, Mon Health System President and CEO David Goldberg and Morgantown and METC student Summer Johnson, among others.

The gathering will also be streamed live:

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