Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 29, 2013

Multi-million Iaeger Elementary School project to resume

IAEGER — Contractors have received a green light to resume construction on a stalled elementary school project in McDowell County.

“I don’t have anything in writing, but my facilities director had a verbal that everything was good as far as the bid permits that were resubmitted,” School Superintendent Nelson Spencer said Wednesday of the new multi-million dollar Iaeger Elementary School project. “We look for site preparation work to get underway. I just hope it is soon.”

Site work began last December on the new Iaeger Elementary School, but the construction was stalled after there was a question about a permit. New drawings and permits were then submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval.

Spencer said he is now hopeful that the site preparation work, and actual construction, will begin soon.

“I went to the principal yesterday, and told her to tell her faculty,” Spencer said. “She was going to convey that message.”

Ray Bailey, a member of the McDowell County Commission, said he received confirmation Tuesday from the county’s Redevelopment Authority that the new permits had been approved.

“I was told our plans had been finalized,” Bailey, also a former principal at the existing Iaeger Elementary School, said. “I just want all of the people to know that we are going to get our new school. It is long overdue.”

Bailey said the county’s redevelopment authority is required to approve all new construction projects in the county. He said school construction also falls under the jurisdiction of the redevelopment authority.

Bailey said he, parents and community leaders in the Iaeger area were prepared to picket outside of the school if the permits were not approved.

The existing Iaeger Elementary School was constructed in 1957, and is one of the oldest schools still operational in McDowell County.

“I was principal at Iaeger Elementary for 12 years,” Bailey said. “I know for a fact that the rooms have mold in them because I had to buy air filters. We had to shut it down because of the mold in it. Our kids don’t deserve this. I know from first-hand experience the shape of our school, and we need to get our kids out of there as soon as possible.”

Bailey said the existing elementary school also was damaged by the floods of 1977 and 2002.

The new elementary school is the last project to be funded as part of a decade-old flood proofing agreement in McDowell County launched in conjunction with the state Board of Education, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state School Building Authority.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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