HURLEY, Va.  — Members of the Buchanan County School Board voted recently to select an alternative site for the relocation of Hurley High School.

In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the allocation of $235.6 million to Buchanan County for flood relief protection. The funding is made available through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, a bipartisan bill which was signed into law on June 6, 2019 to help communities construct flood and storm damage reduction projects.

Under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan, the project’s primary components include a voluntary floodproofing and floodplain evacuation program. The Buchanan County Career, Technology & Higher Learning Center (BCCTHLC) would get a ring wall to protect it from flooding, and Hurley High School would qualify for relocation.

Superintendent Melanie Hibbitts said the Buchanan County School Board met Thursday night to discuss the project with two corps of engineers representatives, Project Manager Bob Peterson and Matthew Martin. The school board and the corps of engineers are looking at whether to move Hurley High School to a new site in the Hurley community or put it in another location.

The Army Corps will select a site in Hurley, she said. If the school board chooses to not go with that site, they must come to the negotiations table with an alternative site.

The board voted Thursday to make Southern Gap the alternative site for the relocated high school, Hibbitts said.

“The school board has to have an alternative site if they choose not to build in the Hurley area,” she stated, adding that discussions about a final site for the high school will continue in April.

The flood protection plans includes building a ring wall around the Buchanan County Career, Technology & Higher Learning Center to protect it, Hibbitts said. Another option is to combine the career center with the relocated high school.

Hibbitts said the flood protection plan included the acquisition of 730 residential and commercial structures.

The plan drafted by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers involves protecting areas that were impacted by an April 1977 Buchanan County flood which caused $198 million in damages. The study area includes all the areas impacted during the 1977 flood on the Levisa Fork and upstream tributaries in Buchanan County, excluding the town of Grundy, according to previous reports in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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