7 years after flood destroyed schools, new plans announced in Nicholas Co.

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:20 PM EST
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NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Cracks in the walls and boarded-up windows were all that was left behind by devastating flooding that ripped through three schools in Nicholas County in June 2016.

Students were left navigating new means of learning, and seven years later the plans to rebuild are changing.

The flooding destroyed Richwood Middle School, Richwood High School and Summersville Middle School.

Jenny Jones’ daughter, who is in sixth grade, learns inside a portables that make up Summersville Middle School.

“Just the pods are so tiny but it has been OK for what it was meant to be for a temporary thing, but it definitely needs to move along,” Jones said.

After years of development and millions in funding allotted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), WSAZ reported in 2020 that the plan was for Cherry River Elementary School to be remodeled to house Richwood Middle School and High School on one campus.

The district also announced plans to build new facilities for Nicholas County High School, Summersville Middle School and Nicholas County Career and Technical Center. A groundbreaking event was even hosted for the new schools.

County Superintendent Terrence Beam said those plans hit a roadblock when bids for the project came in above the district’s budget and forced the district to go back to the drawing board.

Beam recently spoke at the State Board of Education Meeting where members approved new plans for Nicholas County Schools.

Currently the district said Summersville Middle School, Summersville Elementary School and Glade Creek Elementary School would be in a Pk-8 school at the Glade Creek site.

Beam said there is no timeline for when the school will be built because they are currently designing it and waiting for FEMA approval.

Nicholas County High School will remain at their current site.

Richwood High School and Richwood Middle School would be built at the Cherry River Elementary School, and it’s expected completion is fall of 2025.

As the district works to finalize their plans, Jones said she hopes her youngest daughter will be able to learn in a school building.

“Then they got the pods because that is what happened to it back there. The middle school back there, that is where I went to school,” Jones said. “They really need a bigger school where the classrooms are going to be better built.”

Beam said the district will meet with the representatives from the schools that would be at the Glade Creek site. The first meeting is scheduled for Nov. 29.