February 9, 2022

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) heard school construction project updates for Kanawha and Nicholas counties during its February meeting in Charleston. Both districts suffered losses during the historic floods of 2016 that require the construction of eight new schools.

The profound loss of life and property experienced throughout West Virginia resulting from the June 2016 floods is still reverberating in many communities. Among the areas hardest hit were parts of Kanawha and Nicholas counties. As a result, two schools in Kanawha County and two complexes comprised of six schools in Nicholas County are being built.

At no time in recent history has West Virginia had to embark on simultaneous school construction projects of this magnitude caused by a natural disaster. In addition to the normal progress disruptors, each project has faced numerous challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and resulted in delays. Additionally, since each project received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), additional layers of compliance had to be addressed to move forward.

“Our communities are passionate about our schools, and we all remain committed to seeing these school projects through the maze of federal, state and local issues until each of them is built, open and serving our children,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Miller Hall. “It takes strong and steady leadership to steer communities through school construction projects, and to have two or six going on at one time can be extremely difficult. Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick and Dr. Tom Williams are two county superintendents who should be commended for their guidance at this time.”

President Hall instructed Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch to schedule discussions with both county superintendents and School Building Authority Executive Director David Roach to be briefed about the projects and their progress.

“These projects represent unprecedented challenges for Kanawha and Nicholas counties before COVID-19 entered into the discussion,” said Superintendent Burch. “Now there are additional difficulties and considerations that are having significant impacts on site prep, construction, costs and overall progress. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), the West Virginia Board of Education and the School Building Authority will be a resource for county leaders so that we can see school construction through to the end and get our children into their new classrooms with all of the advances the new facilities will offer.”

Kanawha County projects include a new Clendenin Elementary and a new Herbert Hoover High School. The elementary school’s construction was halted after problems were found with the soil. It will be completed one year from resolution of that issue. Herbert Hoover’s projected completion is slated for late spring 2023.

Nicholas County projects include a new Cherry River Elementary, Richwood Middle and Richwood High School at the Cherry River site complex; and a new Nicholas County High School, Summersville Middle and Nicholas County Career and Technical Center at the Glade Creek Business Park site. Full occupancy for the Cherry River site is slated for December 2023 and October 2024 for the Glade Creek site.

Completion dates are based on current projections utilizing current conditions and considerations.

The next regularly scheduled WVBE meeting is Wednesday, March 9, 2022, in Building 6, Room 600, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, West Virginia.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.

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