High construction costs impact funding for school projects

The School Building Authority has postponed their funding due to escalating construction costs.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As the prices of construction materials soar, the sound of drills breaking ground on projects is hard to come by.

Todd Alexander, who is the superintendent of Wayne County Schools, has had a major project at the forefront of his mind for years. It has to do with consolidating Buffalo Elementary School and Buffalo Middle School to create a K-8 school in the Buffalo community.

Alexander says the focus of the project is to replace Buffalo Elementary School with an updated facility, including updated safety features. The plan also includes renovating Buffalo Middle School and adding on an elementary wing addition.

“When the state Board of Education approved the project, they gave us two years to be able to secure funding to be able to do the project. Once those two years elapse -- if you haven’t secured the funding, then their approval becomes null and void and you have to go through the whole process again,” Alexander said.

These funds would come from the School Building Authority of West Virginia.

However, due to escalating construction prices, that round of funding is off the table for now.

“So, what happened in the state this year -- due to excessive cost of construction and inflation, the School Building Authority determined that they didn’t have enough funding to do a school funding cycle this year,” Alexander said. “Normally in September we would’ve submitted an application and we would’ve been waiting to hear right now whether our project was going to be approved. Because they canceled the funding, we did not submit an application this year.”

Alexander says since the district is not going to be able to secure funding in time for their two-year deadline, they requested an extension.

“We made a request to the state asking if they would extend us until the next funding cycle does occur,” Alexander said. “We would just like to give them [students and staff] better facilities that they can teach and learn in the best environment possible.”

The superintendent says if they’re not able to get approved for funding during the next cycle, the district may have to start looking for other funding options.

We spoke with the School Building Authority and they say for the next round of funding that they’ll prioritize the projects already approved for funding -- and then any remaining funds could potentially go toward new projects.