WVSOM’s work on retaining wall, sidewalk will close portion of Lee Street

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) has begun a construction project to renovate the “green space” between the school’s main building and Lee Street. As part of the project, a portion of Lee Street will be temporarily closed to traffic.

Will Alder, WVSOM’s physical plant director, said the area of Lee Street that runs from Silo Lane to Greenbrier Avenue will close between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for two to four weeks. The exact start date of the closing is not yet known, but is estimated to be Oct. 31.

The street will remain open to foot traffic during the renovation, and both Silo Lane and Greenbrier Avenue will remain open.

The closing is necessary because the retaining wall along Lee Street is being demolished due to its poor condition. A new wall will be built and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk will be added on the street-facing side. Additionally, some trees will be removed from the green space for safety reasons and to reduce pressure on the wall from root growth, and cracked pillars that line a driveway in front of the school will be replaced.

“WVSOM is concerned with the safety of residents because of the weakening of the concrete wall and the failing health of some trees,” stated Larry Ware, MBA, CPA, vice president for finance and facilities. “We are taking this opportunity to move the wall away from Lee Street and provide an additional sidewalk for pedestrian traffic. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we make these improvements.”

Workers have already begun demolishing the crumbling, uneven sidewalk adjacent to the flagpole in front of the main building.

The work is the first phase of a larger project to renovate the green space. Later phases will include repaving the school’s circular drive, additional landscaping and adding new handicap parking spaces. When work on the green space is complete, an electronic sign to advertise WVSOM events will be permanently placed near the Silo Lane entrance to the school.

Ware said he hopes that all phases of the renovation will be complete by spring 2020.