By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Piece by piece, a new school is taking shape for the students who call the Oakvale area of Mercer County home.
Work began last year by demolishing parts of the old high school so the construction of a new elementary school could begin. Thanks to the current weather, the work has been proceeding, said Principal Ernie Adkins.
“We are on schedule and things are going very well, and the weather has cooperated fairly well this summer,” Adkins said. “This has allowed us to move forward. We’re excited about getting the school done.”
School officials hope to complete the new school by January 2014.
“I think the block work is about 40 percent complete, and the drainage and the internal plumbing are all put in,” Adkins said. “They’re almost done with the backfill bringing the school up to street level.”
Construction is currently on schedule, and the architects, E.T. Boggess Architect, Inc. in Princeton, are working well with Swope Construction, he stated.
Several sections of the old facility, which was once a high school, were demolished in 2012 to make way for the new pre-kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school. Classes have been conducted in the newer parts of the school while the construction project continues.
To provide breakfast and lunch, a mobile kitchen unit was installed to serve the school until construction is complete. The new school section now being built will have a cafeteria, media center, classrooms and offices. It will also be Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant, school officials said.
In 2011, the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) awarded Mercer County Schools approximately $5 million grant to fund construction of the 23,000-square-foot school.ﯻ