UPDATE: Richwood High School demolition underway soon

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RICHWOOD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 11/2/17 @ 11:50 p.m.
Demolition equipment that's been parked outside of Richwood High School for about a month now can now be put to work.

Thursday, Richwood City Council approved the demolition permit for the high school that was badly damaged during the June 2016 flooding.

We told you last month when there was a threat of fines and legal action between the city and the demolition company, but Council Member Chuck Toussieng says that issue was worked out and both sides are now on the same page.

UPDATE 10/4/17
Threats of legal action are flying from both sides of the battle for what happens next to Richwood High School.

Monday crews with the demolition company Raze International went into the high school to begin the demolition process.

They won the bid for the work with the Nicholas County School board back in January.

School administrators just gave the green light for the work after they say FEMA finished a historic review of the property. FEMA declared 77 percent of the property damaged in the June 2016 flooding.

But Raze field superintendent Doug Terek says progress was shut down by city officials; who have not signed demolition permits.

Richwood Mayor Dr. Bob Henry Baber says, despite damage from flooding last Summer, he believes the building could be re-purposed.

"The inside of this building is pristine," Baber said. "This building should not be torn down."

Now, with both sides at a stalemate, the heavy machinery sits idle.

"We counted on this work," Terek said. "We've already lost two employees because of this lack of work."

Raze officials say, as of Tuesday, they've started keeping a tab for the city of Richwood.

They say, if they can't work, they'll fine Richwood $2,000 for each day their equipment is idle.

They say they're able to do this because the contract they signed with the Nicholas County School Board back in January allows them to fine any entity holding them up.

But city leaders in Richwood were not a part of that agreement and say they won't have to pay a dime.

Richwood High School has also been the centerpiece of discussion when it comes to school consolidation plans within the county.

However superintendent Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick says the district still plans to tear the building down regardless of whether or not consolidation happens.

ORIGINAL STORY 10/2/17 @ 11:30 p.m.
People in Richwood may have noticed some heavy equipment at the high school Monday.

According to Nicholas County Schools Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick crews are preparing to demolish the building.

She says the historic review has been completed and the memorandum of agreement has been signed by all parties needed for the process to start.

The school was damaged in the flood waters from last year but Richwood Mayor Bob Baber says official studies show the building is structurally sound and virtually undamaged.

The school has also been a center piece of discussion when it comes to consolidation plans within the county. The local school board voted to consolidate. The state however denied the plans.

An appeal hearing on is scheduled for Tuesday Oct. between the local school board and the state board to sort the issue out.

The superintendent says that meeting with have no effect on the demolition process.

There is no set date for the demolition to start. Superintendent Burge-Tetrick says a request to approve permits is in with the city, but has not been approved.

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