By Cody Neff
The Fayette County Board of Education unveiled its Capital Improvement Plan at its meeting on Tuesday.
The comprehensive plan is designed to improve both the structures and infrastructures of Fayette County schools by renovating and consolidating old locations, as well as building new ones.
Superintendent Keith Butcher says the plan was created in 2010 by the citizens of Fayette County and approved by the West Virginia State Board of Education and the School Building Authority after citations from the OEPA.
“In 2010, the West Virginia Office of Education and Performance Audits recommended that the State Board of Education place Fayette County into ‘Intervention’ status,” Butcher said. “At that time OEPA cited poor academic achievement, declining graduation rates, and the inability of the district to maintain their current number of buildings. They stated that the buildings were sub-standard and unsuitable to adequately serve the students and staff.”
“The graduation rates and levels of student achievement have increased, but the issue of inadequate facilities must be addressed now. This plan will use existing facilities and properties and will improve district financial stability.”
If the plan is completed as written, by November 2022, the county will have eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one combination elementary and middle school, and three high schools.
By the end of the program, a new school will be built for Collins Middle School and Mount Hope Elementary School. A new Fayetteville Elementary will be built to include Fayetteville and Gatewood elementaries.
Midland Trail High School will be renovated to accommodate the merger of Fayetteville, Meadow Bridge and Midland Trail high schools.
The current Oak Hill High School, which already has absorbed students from Mount Hope High when it was shuttered, and the current Valley High School, which several years ago was merged with the closed Gauley Bridge High, will be the county’s other two high schools.
The current Fayetteville High School will become Fayetteville Middle and will include Fayetteville-area students grades six through eight and Ansted Middle School.
Aside from the major mergers, several schools and facilities will receive new roofs, floor coverings and drainage systems.
According to the Capital Improvement Plan, “All proposed capital improvements are contingent upon completion of previous year objectives. Specific projects or timelines may be adjusted based on need and/or project cost.” This means that no part of the plan can continue unless each part before it has been approved.
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