Plan for new South High charter school goes to planning commission

June 7—MORGANTOWN — A reconfigured plan to open a charter school in the former Monongalia County Schools Central Office building at 13 South High Street will soon go before the Morgantown Planning Commission.

Abdul Tarabishy is one of three people who make up AST Morgantown Properties, the building’s new owner.

The group aims to open Wisdom Academy Charter School for up to 100 students in kindergarten through sixth grade in August 2025.

During a recent work session with the city’s Planning Commission and Director of Development Services Rickie Yeager, Tarabishy explained how he addressed concerns that stalled his development of a site plan application to significant impact before the organization earlier this year.

The commission filed the request in January and nearly denied it in February before filing it a second time.

In both cases, members expressed concerns about pedestrian safety as well as the potential for traffic to slow down on South High as vehicles line up to pick up and drop off students via the entrance /single exit from the parking area.

Tarabishy explained that the group recently purchased a 72-student capacity school bus that will run a single route through Morgantown to reduce traffic arriving at the school.

Parents who choose to drop off and pick up their children will approach the school from the rear, using Prairie Avenue.

“This route is the Morgantown High School pick-up and drop-off route,” Tarabishy said. “It will be us and the high school using this as a potential lineup.”

He noted that the charter school would start and close after MHS to avoid exacerbating an already hectic traffic situation.

Finally, he said the school will have trained crossing guards around the property and plans to hire off-duty police officers to keep things moving.

Although the traffic measures appear to allay a number of the commission’s concerns, there is still some way to go.

Members said they wanted to see something from the West Virginia Division of Highways indicating it would install school zone signage and a crosswalk on South High.

Tarabishy said he is working with both the city and the Department of Health to that end. He also pointed out that MHS students already cross South High Street at this location every day.

“I think it’s a today’s problem, not an August 2025 problem. It’s our problem and it’s a city problem, but it’s a city problem right now,” he said, later adding: “My question then would be why the high school can do it and we can’t.

Commissioner Tim Sranko responded.

“I’m not going to answer that question and I’m not going to debate with you. Our concern here is whether this development is safe and appropriate for the neighborhood…That’s our job and that’s what we do .what the school does or doesn’t do is not in front of us and so it doesn’t matter to me, frankly,” he said.

Yeager said there have been internal discussions involving city staff about what types of improvements would…

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