Cover Story - Poca Schools Get Upgrades

In several communities in our region, parents are sending their children to brand new, state-of-the art schools this year.

Lincoln County just opened its long-debated high school, and Portsmouth just replaced its 80-year old building amid much celebration.

But another school is also marking that milestone anniversary -- Poca Middle School.

A trip back to the oldest school in Putnam County and perhaps, the whole state of West Virginia!

Interestingly enough, Samantha Parkins' Great Grandmother attended classes in the very same building!

We asked Samantha Parkins, “Who has gone to this school?”

She replies, “Me, my dad, grandma, great-grandma. It’s old!”

Poca Middle first opened as Poca High School back in 1926, and the design looks particularly distinguished.

Its architect was Walter F. Martens, the same man who designed the governor's mansion.

An open house allowed incoming 6th graders a chance to find their way around, but since the building's also marking its 80th year educating the Pride of Poca, school leaders invited former students, teachers, everyone in the community to come back and take a look around!

The truth is technology has left this stately school behind. Our architect, Mr. Marten, didn't imagine we'd come so far so fast and need more than two outlets in classrooms.

But there are some proud Poca Dots who are quick with their answer when the talk turns to closing this school.

Johnie Pat Brown, “No! It’s the base for Poca.”

Right now there are no plans to close it.

Things are moving forward for a new elementary school to open on property in Teays Valley next fall. This should ease the overcrowding in that part of the county.

Since Poca's seeing a declining population, this old building still has the room if not the wiring, to see yet another generation of students grow up inside its walls.

Putnam County School Board Member Butch Legg says, “The ultimate goal is a new school for Poca too.”

He expects the board to start that discussion sometime this winter.

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