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UPDATE: Kanawha County School on Losing End of SBA Funding

By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email

UPDATE 4/22/13 @ 8:35 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An improvement plan to expand an elementary school and remove portable classrooms was rejected by the West Virginia School Building Authority.

The leaders of school systems across the state gathered in Charleston with hopes of getting money to upgrade the classrooms.

The SBA had $50 million to hand out Monday, but one school in Kanawha County was on the losing end.

"After three years of putting in our bids, we sat around and thought what else do we need to do?" teacher Jason Henley said.

Andrews Heights Elementary School has increased enrollment and currently has nearly 320 students, causing it to be bursting at the seams.

School leaders and the Kanawha County School Board have gone to the SBA in hopes of getting approved to build, expand and improve the school. They planned on five new classrooms, a computer lab and much-needed kitchen and food storage space. However, that proposal was rejected by the SBA.

"We're not just some outside school, we're part of the Kanawha County school system, we're part of the state of West Virginia and we feel that we should be protected just like other schools are being protected," Henley said.

Kanawha County Schools needed $2 million to push the project forward and was promising to contribute $650,000 toward the plan.

"It would have been nice to get them out of the portables and into the building and expand the cafeteria, but we also have to remember we've gotten our fair share of school building authority money in the past," Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring said. "So you can't get up on the board every time you go for a project."

The portables will now stay. The superintendent says right now, no levy is planned to help raise the money to fund the project in the future.

Teachers and parents say the mold problems in the portables have been dealt with and now the big concern is security of the students.

"Everything has to be safety oriented," parent Andrea Chafin said. "They have totally forgotten about these portables out here and how our kids are out here in the open all the time."

Chafin added, "My daughter will be in one next year, and I don't think they're safe, I don't think they're very healthy."

Teachers say teaching in a portable is different, and children have to dress for the weather and plan on being warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter compared with the school building.

"I don't really know what it's like to be in the building, I know this type of teaching," Henley said. "I know about taking your kids back and forth and back and forth and just that kind of stuff. I don't know anything different but would it be fantastic and would it be the best for our children? Yes."



UPDATE 4/23/12 @ 10:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The School Building Authority awarded funding for dozens of schools projects in West Virginia. However, several counties in our region didn't make the cut.

The SBA had about $40 million to give out this year, but the counties submitted more than $100 million in projects last month.

During a packed meeting at the West Virginia State Capitol, board members announced Monday what projects would be funded.

Kanawha, Jackson, Boone, Cabell, Mingo and Fayette have all been taken off the list to receive funding.

Kanawha County asked the SBA for more than $2 million to help fund a project at Andrew Heights Elementary School.

The money would help build six new classrooms at the school to replace the school's current portable classrooms. This project would also include a major renovation to the food service area and multi-purpose room.

At the time, Superintendent Ron Duerring said the money would help eliminate the safety concerns and mold problems with the school's portable classrooms.

However, Logan County Schools did receive most of the money they requested to build a new elementary school.

Logan requested $11M to build Logan Elementary School, but the SBA only gave them $9M for the project.

The new school will allow the county to close Verdunville Elementary School and then some students from Omar and Holden elementary schools would be moved to the new school.

The superintendent says this will reduce the transportation times for students and eliminate portable classrooms.

Logan County will have to contribute more than $8M for the project to happen.

The SBA awarded $1.6M to Clay County Schools for Clay Middle School to get a new HVAC unit. Wirt County received $1.4M to help pay for HVAC upgrades at Wirt Middle School.

Preston, Gilmer, Lewis, Wyoming, Hardy, Marshall, Barbour, Morgan, Pocahontas counties all received funding. A couple of these counties didn't get as much as they asked for, but still received funding.

After all the money is distributed, the SBA will still have a little more than $578,000 leftover.



UPDATE 3/20/12 @ 10:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County was the first school system to submit its "need" project to the School Building Authority on Tuesday.

This is the second day for the presentations. More than a dozen counties submitted their plans on Monday.

Superintendent Ron Duerring asked the SBA for more than $2 million to help fund a project at Andrew Heights Elementary School.

The money would help build six new classrooms at the school to replace the school's current portable classrooms. This project would also include a major renovation to the food service area and multi-purpose room.

"We've had growth out there in population with people moving and now it's at its capacity,” Superintendent Ron Duerring said. "We need to be able to get the electrical system up where it can handle the technology and give these students some additional space and some extra learning opportunities."

A new music room, art area and high tech computer lab would also be part of the plan.

The county would pay also contribute $200,000 for the project.

Duerring tells WSAZ.com this would help eliminate the safety concerns and mold problems with the school's portable classrooms.

The county is also looking to add a Pre-K program at the school if this project gets the funding.

Meanwhile, Boone, Fayette and Logan have also asked for funding.

Boone County is hoping to get more than $5 million for a major renovation and addition at Sherman Junior High School and Sherman High School.

The project would include adding a 6,500 square foot science addition at the high school, a main entrance, three general classrooms, as well as a bus loop and upgraded parking area.

Boone County Schools would pay $2 million for the project.

Logan County Schools is asking for $11 million to build a new Logan Elementary School. The new school would allow Logan to close Verdunville Elementary School and redistrict students from the Omar Elementary School and Holden Elementary School attendance areas to the new Logan Elementary School.

The superintendent says this will reduce the transportation times for students and eliminate portable classrooms.

Logan would pay more than $6 million for the project.

The Fayette County School System is also looking to build a new school.

Fayette asked SBA for $14 million for an addition and renovation at Midland Trail High School. This project would allow the county to create a new regional high school to consolidate Fayetteville High School, Midland Trail High School and Meadow Bridge High School.

This addition would add 20 new classrooms as well as an expanded media center, gym and cafeteria. The county would pay $1 million on the project.

The superintendent says when this move is made, the current Fayetteville High School will become a new middle school for students of the current Anstead Middle, Nuttall Middle and Fayetteville Middle. The current Anstead Middle will become Anstead Elementary. The current Meadow Bridge campus will become a PK-8 school.

The SBA has about $40 million to give out this year, but the counties have submitted more than $100 million in projects.

The SBA won't decide on what counties get the funding until late April.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There are a lot of needs, but not enough money to fund every project in the state.

The School Building Authority heard from school districts from across the state Monday about their "need" projects. Dozens of more counties will submit their plans on Tuesday.

The SBA has about $40M to give out this year, but the counties have submitted more than $100M in projects.

The superintendents from Clay, Mingo, Cabell and Jackson counties are expected to submit their proposals on Monday. Kanawha is scheduled to be discussed on Tuesday.

The Clay superintendent asked Monday morning for $2M for new HVAC units at Clay Middle School. This would replace all the window AC units currently at the school.

Meanwhile, Cabell County schools asked for $3.7M to renovate Culloden Elementary. The superintendent told the board the school also has asbestos and water problems. The fire marshal has also reported a problem with the school's fire system.

If the county gets the $3.7 from the SBA, it would put in $3M of its own money.

The money would help fix the high concentrations of asbestos in the building materials and pay for a new centralized HVAC system. The work would include the demolition and construction of a new front entrance.

If the renovation projects happens, the county plans to move some students who live near Culloden Elementary, but go to Milton Elementary into that school.

The SBA won't decide on what counties get the funding until late April.

We have a crew at the meeting. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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