The meeting with the School Building Authority, which was scheduled for last week, was canceled due to the teachers’ walkout.

This week, it makes even more sense to discuss correcting violations and completing improvements that would keep the Marlinton Elementary School at its present location. If the SBA answer to the current situation is to build a facility or an addition, out of the floodplain, we should know how much that cost would be. If the community would agree to correcting the Fire Marshal’s noted violations and needed school improvements on site, we should have those estimates, as well.

I am still waiting on estimates for correcting fire suppression and alarm system and/or health issues (if any), and estimates for other repairs. Depending on total estimates, other school improvements could be considered. Whatever those final numbers may be, I cannot imagine necessary repairs being more than a third of the cost of moving the school.

If Charleston is looking at every opportunity to economize and get the most benefit out of every dollar, this is the time for SBA to reconsider their move-only option. As a community, we have time to present a plan of action for Marlinton Elementary School. Last week, I asked the question; “Where can we go to remove risk and common maintenance?”

Decision makers must consider the equity the present location provides. There is an “Award-Winning Library” on the opposite corner. On the same block is an active Wellness Center that provides a basketball court, appropriate for youth recreational activities, as well as volleyball. In addition, the adjacent Wellness Center includes an indoor exercise and walking track. There is an aerobics-fitness room, an art room and multi-purpose room, and racket-ball court.

Outdoor features include a blend of covered and open gathering and play spaces, reading and seating areas and multi-use for walking and jogging. Onsite parking and a drop-off area is also provided. Full bicycle racks are evidence of students who ride their bike to school. All located where they are, because of the school.

One block away, a community fun space is in the planning stages that would add new learning experiences for MES students. The current location provides real life experiences such as opportunities to visit the post office, banks, courthouse, or a walk on the Greenbrier River Trail. Everything else considered for a good location is here. All factors must be considered.