UPDATE: SBA approves new building plan for Nicholas County

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 5/10/18 @ 9:03 p.m.
FEMA is the only hurdle left to clear for Nicholas County Schools to start the rebuilding process.

Thursday, the state School Building Authority approved the new rebuilding plans that are needed because the June 2016 flooding destroyed several schools.

This is the third round of approval sought this week by Nicholas County Schools Superintendent Donna Burg-Tetrick who presented the plan to the local school board Monday and the state school board Wednesday.

FEMA will pay for most of the construction of two new schools in Richwood and two new schools and a technical education center at Glade Creek.

The SBA vote Thursday was approval of a change to the county's Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP).

"My goal is to start construction as quickly as possible," Burge-Tetrick told WVMetroNews.com. "Our kids have been in pods long enough."

The June 2016 flood destroyed Richwood High School, Richwood Middle School and Summersville Middle School. The new plan includes the construction of those three schools, the tech-ed center and a new Nicholas County High School.

"My goal is to have everything completed within three years. That's optimistic," Burge Tetrick said.

The Richwood schools will be built at Cherry River Elementary.

UPDATE 5/9/18 @ 5:52 p.m.
The West Virginia State Board of Education has unanimously approved the proposed plan for rebuilding the flood-damaged Nicholas County schools.

On Wednesday, the board heard from several key players before making their decision. The plan was approved Monday night by the county school board.

It calls for a separate Nicholas County High and Middle School to be built in the Glade Creek Business Park near Summersville. The current Nicholas County High School will be renovated for Summersville Elementary. The elementary was also destroyed in the June 2016 flood.

The county will also close the Career Technical Education school in Craigsville and move it near the new high school.

Richwood will be getting a new high school and middle school. They will both be built at the same location of the current Cherry River Elementary School.

While many Richwood residents were unhappy with those selections, Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick says she hopes time will heal all wounds.

"It's important to me that people heal, because I want to be a successful superintendent there, I want to lead that county in a new plan that will benefit our students for generations to come, far after I'm dead. I want that school to be there for those children. I want the best for both sides of the county," explained Burge-Tetrick Wednesday morning.

The county will seek approval from the State School Building Authority on Thursday. The final say will come from FEMA.

UPDATE 5/7/18 @ 11:36 p.m.
In Nicholas County they are one step closer to breaking ground on new schools to replace those destroyed by flooding back in 2016.

According to superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick, the school board Monday night approved the ts Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan she presented to them.

The plan will mean adding facilities on to Cherry River Elementary School to create classrooms for Richwood High School and Middle School students.

On the other side of the county a new Nicholas County High School and Summersville Middle School will be built at the Glade Creek Business Park.

Nicholas County High School school will be a comprehensive school and open to all students in the county. That is where the counties Career Technical Education or CTE classes will be provided.

According to Dr. Burge-Tetrick, each school community will keep it's own mascots and identity.

FEMA, the West Virginia State School Board and the West Virginia School Building Authority all still need to approve the Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan.

UPDATE 4/30/18 @ 5:53 p.m.
The Nicholas County mediation team has released a potential plan for the rebuilding of county schools.

On Monday, the mediation team met in Charleston and agreed on a plan for rebuilding the schools that were destroyed in the June 2016 flood.

The plan includes a community school(s) serving 6-12 grades in Richwood. It will be located within a 3-mile radius of the former Richwood High School. The mediation team says the school should include distinct spaces for middle and high school students.

A middle school and comprehensive high school located in the center of Nicholas County is also included in the plan. This would have an integrated career-technical education program and facility.

Athletics, arts and other extra-curricular programming will be provided to all students who are interested, regardless of which school they choose to attend, according to the newly-released plan.

Families and students would be able to select the middle and high school that best meet their needs.

On Monday, May 7, the Nicholas County Board of Education will consider the amended CEFP and vote to accept or reject the plan.

Then on Wednesday, May 9, the West Virginia Board of Education will vote on the plan. School Building Authority will meet on May 10 to also consider approval of the plan.

UPDATE 3/30/18
Another step complete in the process to rebuild flood damaged schools in Nicholas County.

A mediation team made up of representatives of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Nicholas County Department of Education met in Charleston on March 27 and 28 to discuss a plan for rebuilding Nicholas County Schools after the devastating flooding of June 2016.

At that meeting, the representatives were able to come to an agreeable and workable proposed plan for rebuilding the schools.

As part of that plan, the team hopes to provide permanent schools for all students, keep the district financially healthy and sustainable, and keep the unique cultures and characters of the schools and communities of Nicholas County.

The mediation team agreed that the plan for rebuilding schools in Nicholas County should attempt to include a community school serving pre-kindergarten through 12th grades in Richwood, located within a three mile radius of the former Richwood High School.

The schools should include spaces for an elementary, middle and high school-- even if co-located on a shared campus-- and should preserve current school names, team names and mascots of schools located in Richwood.

The plan also includes a middle school and comprehensive high school located near the center of Nicholas County, with an integrated career-technical education program and facility.

The school also should distinct spaces for a middle and high school, and should preserve current school names, mascots and cultures.

Familes and students would be allowed to choose the middle and high school that best meet their educational needs. Schools would be sized to allow families flexibility for their choices.

Specific locations for the schools would be determined through a deliberate site evaluation process, which would use criteria drawn from federal, state, and local requirements to meet FEMA's needs for due diligence.

The mediation team is asking for input from Nicholas County residents on this proposed approach.

The team is hosting a public workshop on April 12 from 6-8 p.m. at Nicholas County High School in order to provide more information about the options under consideration and to get the community's feedback. Transportation from Richwood will be available. All are invited to attend.

The state made another step toward rebuilding flood damaged schools in Nicholas County during a meeting in Charleston.

On Tuesday, the West Virginia State Board of Education held a joint meeting with the Nicholas County Board of Education.

The purpose was to approve a proposed mediation process. The county has been working on a plan to rebuild schools that were damaged in the June 2016 flood.

With the mediation plan approved, three members of the state BOE, three members of the Nicholas County board and the mediator will now be able to sit down and work things out.

"We're learning and listening to the Nicholas Board and we can see some of the angst they've had to go through, which I think we need to think about a little bit differently about that process and refine it. We'll have to work with the legislature on that," said State Board President Tom Campbell.

According to a document released Tuesday citing process protocols and scope of work, the mediation process is expected to decide which FEMA public assistance program funding to utilize, identify locations for rebuilding schools, determine school size and configuration, and resolve disagreements between the Nicholas County Board and the WVBOE on the components of the amended Comprehensive Education Facility Plan.

The mediation process must be completed by June 15 so there is adequate time to apply for FEMA funding before a September 26 deadline.

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