ROMNEY — Plans for demolition of the old hospital, transfer of property for construction of a new elementary school and selection of a location for a county daycare and learning center were discussed as the Hampshire County Development Authority met last week.
Passage of the school bond in the June 9 primary brought funding for a new Romney Elementary School to be built on the site of the old hospital, but the old building must be torn down before the property can be transferred to the Board of Education.
Right now the biggest issue is finding funding for the demolition of the old hospital, Development Authority Executive Director Eileen Johnson said. At this point they lean toward funding through a local bank, since there are no grants available to fund demolition of a building.
The authority will also work on a formal agreement with the schools to swap the old hospital property for 3 lots along School Street. All 3 lots will be deeded to the development authority, at least initially, and can then be transferred to other bodies.
Johnson gave the ball field as an example. The authority wants to have this property remain green space, and could transfer the title to Romney or Hampshire County Parks and Recreation.
First, both the lots and the hospital property must be surveyed.
Two buildings on the hospital property must be removed, and will be given to the Potomac Center, which currently leases them, so long as they are willing to move them.
The Romney Volunteer Rescue Squad will remain where it is, at least for the time being. Its final location will be a school board decision, Johnson said, since its proximity would be an asset to the school, but only if ambulances can run in and out of the area without endangering students.
The location of the access road to the new school will also be a board decision, Johnson said after the meeting, and ultimately the Department of Highways will determine the safest, most appropriate way for bus and other traffic to access the property.
Both the Potomac Center and county special services oppose making an entrance to the school by extending Blue Street to connect with Veterans Boulevard in the business park. This would mean routing traffic between 2 Romney Business Park buildings used by special services and then through the Potomac Center.
Initially the Development Authority had planned to repurpose or sell the hospital site to build a daycare center. Now they see new opportunities in the passage of the school bond.
Though they are just in the earliest stages of the discussion, Johnson said they hope to partner with the school board to see what properties abandoned as new schools are built might still be usable.
In other business, Thrasher representative Rob Milne gave an update on access road and sewer projects for the Capon Bridge Technology Park. The access road project is currently under a final review by the state, and they hoped to have the signatures they needed on easement agreements for sewer lines by the end of last week.