Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 5, 2014

McDowell officials anxious to move forward with construction of new school

IAEGER — With the demolition of the old Iaeger Elementary School now complete, officials in McDowell County are hoping to expedite construction on a long-planned $12 million elementary school.

But before construction on the new Iaeger Elementary School can begin, a river bank that experienced a partial collapse earlier this year must be stabilized. Contractors are now working to mitigate the bank, School Superintendent Nelson Spencer said Thursday.

“The demolition is finished,” Spencer said. “It is completely done. What we are doing right now is taking all of that excess material, which is dirt and rock, and moving that into the old area where the school will sit. At the same time we are mitigating the area of the bank where the slide occurred.”

Spencer said large rocks are being used from the construction area to help stabilize the bank. The new school will be constructed a good distance from where the slide occurred. Students were relocated from the old school earlier this year after the slide, and relocated to River High School and Bradshaw Elementary.

“Our intentions at the beginning were to have the kids in the (old) school while we were building the (new one), but the slide just changed that,” Spencer said. “The site preparation was a part of the process all along . Just fixing the river bank was different, and the demolition was different.”

The new school will be the last project completed as part of a 14-year-old flood-proofing project between the state Department of Education, the state School Building Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“This is the last project in what officials call the flood money,” Spencer said. “I’m just happy to see things progressing and we are very anxious to get the construction started, and even more anxious to get the kids in the school.”

There is no current time frame for the project’s completion. But Spencer said it normally takes anywhere from 14 to 24 months to build a new school.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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