Safety concerns raised regarding access to Huntington High School

Concerned residents approach Cabell County Commission
Community concerns about only one access road in and out of Huntington High School were addressed again Friday.
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 7:55 PM EDT
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UPDATE 7/28/23 @ 6 p.m.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - On Thursday, Cabell County residents brought their concerns about safety to the Cabell County Commission. The issue discussed was about only one way in and out of Huntington High School.

Concerned parent Pryce Haynes III said this is a real issue.

“There’s only one access road leading up to Huntington High School and if emergency were to strike -- and that road were blocked -- that would be crucial to emergency vehicles, EMS, fire, police -- accessing the school -- the students in a timely manner,” Haynes said.

Cabell County Superintendent Ryan Saxe said the district is looking into some solutions.

“One solution would be to go over into a nearby neighborhood with just an access road -- it would not be a road that is primarily used every day. There would be a gate it would be one of those things that if an emergency arose, we would have to have access to it,” Saxe said.

He said funding for something like this would have to come out of the school district’s general budget.

He also said they meet monthly with Homeland Security to go over preparedness -- part of which include simulations, some of which are getting first responders on the hill and students off at Huntington High.

The district said for the current bid project for Meadows Elementary, there is only one entrance in and out, saying it is a much smaller school, with a much shorter entrance -- calling it a very different situation.

As for Milton Elementary, they said in their base bid for the project, there is only one entrance, but there are discussions to see what they can do about a second one on the backside of the property.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest.


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - On Thursday morning, residents brought their concerns straight to the Cabell County Commission about why there needs to be a second entrance and exit at Huntington High School.

Residents brought their concerns straight to the Cabell County Commission about why there needs to be a second entrance and exit at Huntington High School.

Cassie Miller is a concerned parent who is also the president of a Local School Improvement Council at Huntington High School. She said having only one way in and one way out of the school on a hill is a real safety concern.

“There’s no way they can evacuate 2,000 people -- maybe half of them in vehicles off that hill in a quick and rapid and safe manor in a two-lane road,” Miller said.

Gordon Merry, director of Cabell County Emergency Medical Services, said he noticed a safety issue in 1996 and sent a letter to the superintendent at the time. He spoke Thursday at the commission meeting, still noting the present issue.

“We definitely need a second entrance because if we would have a hazmat incident at the bottom of the hill, we can’t get them out,” Merry said.

The Commission said they have plans to send a new letter, urging the Cabell County Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Highways to explore some possible solutions.

Cabell Superintendent Ryan Saxe was unable to speak with WSAZ’s Ariana Mintz on Wednesday. However, Cabell County Schools told her the superintendent met with an architectural firm Thursday morning.

The school also said they are looking into possible solutions to see if this is something they can do in the future.

Mintz has a meeting set Friday with Saxe to talk more about this issue.

See the following documents for more information about the issue: