Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

November 27, 2012

School construction — Final project for McDowell

A 12-year-old partnership between the McDowell County Board of Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still paying welcomed dividends for McDowell County.

The multi-million dollar agreement inked back in 2000 between the state and local board, and the Army Corps of Engineers, has led to the construction of several new school facilities over the past decade located outside of the flood plain, including River View High School, Bradshaw Elementary and the Southview Elementary and Middle School. A new Mount View Middle School also was constructed during the time period with the help of the  state School Building Authority.

Work is now underway on a fifth and final school stemming from the decade-old partnership.

A contract has been awarded for site preparation work on the new Iaeger Elementary School, a state-of-the-art facility that will be constructed near the site of the old Iaeger High School, which was demolished in 2010.

A second bid for the actual construction of the new school is expected to be awarded soon, according to McDowell County School Superintendent Nelson Spencer.

The site preparation work must be completed before the actual construction can begin.

If all goes as planned, the new elementary school will be under construction in 2013, and should be open for students by 2014.

“We will write in the contract the closest estimated date of completion of construction, but we won’t know when the building will be completed or when we can move in until the day that contract is signed,” Spencer said last week. “It is usually a year-and-a-half or two-year process to construct a brand new school. Everything in this building will be absolutely brand new. We are thinking the school will be ready sometime in 2014, and we hope we can move in by the fall of 2014 if everything goes according to plan.”

The site preparation work itself is labor intensive.

Spencer said part of the preparation for the school’s construction involves bringing the construction site out of the flood plain. In fact, a portion of the mountain in front of the area where the school will be constructed  has to be removed and then placed on the school site to make the construction area level, according to Spencer. That, in return, will move the school property outside of the flood plain by raising the ground in the area by nearly a foot.

The decade-old flood-proofing agreement has been a victory for the school children of McDowell County, who have long lacked modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

We are glad to hear that work will soon begin on the final school construction project originating from this decade-old agreement.

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