Nicholas County Schools hold groundbreaking for new schools

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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Nicholas County Schools have been working on a project long in the making since the 2016 floods destroyed three schools in the county.

On Monday, they had a blue-and-white tent set up, shovels ready and a crowd eager to start a process long in the making. Sarah Keiper, a mother from Nicholas County, said she cannot put into words what the groundbreaking meant to her.

"We are just excited for Nicholas County students today, and it's just a blessing, what a beautiful day, and I think that speaks for itself," Keiper said.

Keiper has two sons who are in the fourth grade and sixth grade. She watched as Board of Education President Dr. Gus Penix and Superintendent Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick lifted the first dirt that will be her son's new school in a little more than two years.

Burge-Tetrick said the groundbreaking was symbolic.

"It wasn't very easy to dig into, but of course this groundbreaking is symbolic," she said.

The superintendent said it has been a long road to get the funding for five new schools in their system.

Nicholas County Schools held two groundbreaking events virtually: for the new facilities of Richwood High School and Richwood Middle School, as well as the remodeling of Cherry River Elementary. The second groundbreaking was for the new facilities for Summersville Middle School, Nicholas High School and Nicholas County Career and Technical Center.

With these new facilities, Summersville Elementary will move into the previous Nicholas County High School after it's remodeled.

"Construction, we hope, will start by this fall, and we are hoping within two to two and a half years we will be moving into these facilities," Penix said.

He said Summersville Middle School and Nicholas County Career Center are to flatten the 70 acres they will have acquired for the project.

The facilities will be state-of-the-art and mostly funded by federal dollars.

"I'm just so excited. It has been a very emotional day for me because it has been four years," Burge-Tetrick said. "We've worked very hard to secure the money to build these new facilities.'

For excited mom Keiper, she is hopeful for the future of Nicholas County, for her sons, and for all the students in years to come.

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