Firm hired to gauge public interest in new, non-denominational private school

MORGANTOWN — An effort is underway to gauge interest in the creation of new, non-denominational private school in Morgantown.
Thomas Heding, president and senior consultant for Milwaukee-based consulting firm Meitler, said his firm was hired to gather data to that end.
“A group of interested parents and people who live in the community, most all of whom, with a couple exceptions, have children in either the public schools or the Christian or Catholic schools there, are interested in options,” Heding said.
According to Heding, Meitler has been working locally for about two months. Part of that work included  soliciting assistance from various corporate and public entities, including WVU Medicine.
As an example, Angela Jones-Knopf, media relations manager for WVU Medicine, said a message with a link to the survey was posted on an intranet site accessible by all WVU Medicine/Hospitals employees.
“We met with the CEOs and directors of a number of companies there and hospitals to give them an idea of what we’re doing and secure their cooperation and approval to be able to share and post this survey,” Heding said. “That’s how we distributed it.”
The survey in question is online at meitler.com/Morgantown. The survey has been up since April 29 and will come down May 20.
Heding said the survey is aimed at measuring enrollment potential. If the interest is high, Meitler could shift into financial analysis to pin down “how much will it cost to plan, construct, open and operate a new high school in Morgantown.”
He said the idea behind the school is a focus on what he called “STEAM” — science, technology, engineering, fine arts and math.
“There would also be a focus on character development — a 21st century education for the students,” Heding said. “Everyone I’ve spoken with speaks highly of the public schools and the Christian schools. They’re just looking for an option, possibly something different for their children.”
Heding declined to provide specific information about who hired his firm to take on this effort.
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