- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:06
- Published on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:06
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The O’Gara Group and Westmoreland County schools are developing an agreement that will enable the school division to utilize O’Gara’s nearby paramilitary training facilities to house a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program until the jurisdiction’s new high school is built.
According discussions at recent county School Board meetings, development of a JROTC program at Washington and Lee High School would provide local educators with a mechanism for more optimally directing the energies and focus of students
who might otherwise fail to achieve.
Funding to support introduction of a JROTC program in September 2012 was included in the county school division’s preliminary 2012-2013 budget proposal. It was initially supposed that the existing high school facility could appropriately accommodate the program.
It was instead announced during a Feb. 27 Westmoreland School Board meeting that more time would be required to develop such a program. It was additionally understood that old facilities available at Washington and Lee High School would not be sufficient to support the program’s needs.
O’Gara Group instead stepped forward with technical guidance and an offer to temporarily share its own training and other accommodations free of charge. Savings associated with the partnering had now been quantified on Monday.
Westmoreland School Division Superintendent Rebecca Lowry announced O’Gara Group’s offer of assistance during the School Board’s Feb. 27 budget deliberations.
According to Lowry, O’Gara Group volunteered to become a working partner. The Westmoreland school division’s JROTC participants would be allowed to share “the O’Gara classrooms and storage space until a new high school is built,” the Superintendent told the members of the Board.
Lowry then advised that funding to support JRTC training staff had been removed from the school division’s 2012-2013 budget proposal when it became understood that establishing the program “will require one year of active planning.”
While consulting with The O’Gara Group, Lowery was given a tour of the paramilitary training establishment’s facility. This Monday she described her findings as “so impressive.”
“O’Gara is such a right addition for this county,” commented Lowry. “They are a great neighbor,” School Board Chairman Daniel Wallace replied.
Westmoreland residents learned of O’Gara’s arrival in January 2008, when the Supervisors agreed to sell the publicly owned industrial shell building and surrounding property to the training establishment.
O’Gara Group purchased adjacent properties from car dealer Bryan Chandler and later bought the former Scovill property.
Since its arrival, O’Gara Group has developed a complex of offices and classrooms, shooting ranges and a driving course. Urban warfare training areas are an additional component of the O’Gara program.