UPDATE | Kanawha School Board members approve resolution on Herbert Hoover High School
On Monday, school board members in Kanawha County approved a resolution on the purchase of the new Herbert Hoover High School property.
This means, once the board gets the environmental assessment and FEMA funding is secured, they can move forward quickly to purchase the Given's Fork property in Elkview.
Board members approved a similar resolution for Clendenin Elementary School a few weeks ago.
"We need to be in a position to get this going in way that we can still get reimbursed from FEMA, but do it so that there's no delay that comes from our part," School board President Ryan White said.
For parents like Lora Mullins, this is great news. "I feel like any progress is good progress," she said.
However, Mullins said the delays have not been the most frustrating part. She said the lack of communication from school officials has been difficult to deal with, but recently the school board has been more transparent.
"Not much has gone on really," White said. "Once the approval happens, I think we'll have a lot more to report because there will be actual things being done on the school that you can see, and the board will have information to give to the public as well."
The environmental assessment is expected in April. Board members said FEMA's approval should take a few weeks after the assessment is received. Then, there will be a 30-day public comment period before the property is officially purchased.
School board members in Kanawha County received an update Monday night about the rebuilding of the schools in the Elk River Communities.
Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin Elementary School were both destroyed in the June 2016 flooding.
When the new school is built, Clendenin and Bridge Elementary students will be housed under one roof.
Chuck Smith, Kanawha County Schools' executive director of Facilities, Planning and Management, told board members that the new Clendenin elementary school environmental assessment should be done this month. It is currently in the hands of FEMA.
He said the site purchase can happen after that process is complete, adding it usually takes six months.
After that it will be June or July start to acquisitions and site development of project, which brings them to a completion around 2021.
As for Herbert Hoover High School, leaders say the project is running a little behind because of the scope of the project.
Construction renderings are expected in July with a completion date of 2022. Currently the environmental assessment process is nearing completion by the end of March. Construction drawings are expected by July, with the goal of a 2022 completion date.
"It seems like it's never going to happen, but it is," Smith said. "It will happen, we've made the commitment, and it's going to happen. It's just a matter of following the procedures that FEMA has put in place. We have to be compliant with them so that we can get reimbursed for the money we spend, and to ensure that they don't come back five years from now or ten years from now and say, 'Oh, by the way, you owe us more money because you didn't do this correctly.' "
Also at Monday night's meeting it was announced that turf will go in at Riverside and Sissonville high schools after this coming school year's football season.
HVAC improvements will begin at Capital High School and George Washington this July.
Mold closed Capital High School at the beginning of this school year and the previous. Administrators say it was a result of an aging HVAC system.