UPDATE 7/21/16 @ 12:15 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After weeks spent deliberating possible contingency plans for all schools impacted by June flooding in the Elkview-Clendenin area, the Kanawha County School Board met with community members at a special meeting Wednesday, announcing plans to tear down the flooded Herbert Hoover High School building and construct a new facility nearby.
School officials say, with 70 percent of what the building is worth destroyed, FEMA considers the building fully damaged by their standards.
Superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring announced the decision to a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds, packing the Elkview Middle School Auditorium.
"We can not reopen Herbert Hoover," Duerring said "I know that's tough on the community, but what's going to come out of it is a brand new Herbert Hoover High School."
An official location has not been selected yet, but Duerring says the School Board will be searching for 50-70 acres of land, outside of the flood area, while still in the Elk River community.
"Churches and schools are the center of every community," Duerring said. "So by rebuilding and keeping the school here, we help rebuild this community, and I think that's the best thing we can do."
School officials say they expect FEMA to pay 75 percent of the cost of the new building, while the county school system is hoping help from the state will knock their tab down to about 5 percent.
While many folks in attendance were excited to hear about the plans, with the timeline of completion at 2-3 years, some current students were disappointed to learn they will never have another normal high school experience.
"It sort of disrupts everything so we're all a bit heartbroke right now," Herbert Hoover senior Madison Bowles said. "But...you can't control a flood."
But Bowles says she and her classmates will be alright, having spent their summer learning about resilience.
"This is what we're dealing with," Bowles said. "So let's make the best of it."
In the meantime, current high school students will split time with middle school students at Elkview Middle School, until a modular campus can be set up for Herbert Hoover.
Elkview Middle students will attend school from 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and the Herbert Hoover students will attend school from 12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
School officials say the now-old Herbert Hoover building will be demolished. However, they hope to re-purpose the facility, possibly into a sporting complex.
ORIGINAL STORY 7/20/16 @ 10 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's official: Herbert Hoover High School will be reconstructed from the ground up.
Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring made the announcement Wednesday evening at a special board meeting where officials discussed the future of schools damaged by last month's devastating floods.
On Saturday, July 9, officials from FEMA, the WV Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, along with the Kanawha County Floodplain Manager visited the school to conduct a property damage assessment of Herbert Hoover High School.
Based on the information gathered, the assessment showed that the school was damaged at 70.9 percent, which clocks in at around $12.3 million dollars worth of damage.
Duerring says they cannot go back into the Herbert Hoover High School that exists now. There will be a portable high school in place at the Elkview Middle School football field while the new school is under construction. Herbert Hoover students will share cafeteria services with Elkview Middle. All the students will receive free lunch every day.
Duerring called the new building a, "school of the future," complete with brand new sports facilities.
School officials say about 55 to 70 acres is needed for the school and its grounds.
The old school will be demolished and re-purposed.
Duerring says the entire project will likely take 2-3 years.
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