Elementary school site

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the new primary school, which is planned to consolidate Whitethorn and Memorial primary schools, on Thursday at the site near Bluefield High School seen here. 

BLUEFIELD — For the second time in just over a year, a groundbreaking for a new school in Mercer County will be celebrated.

The ceremony is set for Thursday at the site of a new primary school on Cumberland Road that will consolidate students from Whitethorn and Memorial primary schools, which will both be closed.

With an August 2020 projected opening date, the $12.2 million school will be constructed on 9.5 acres of land beside Bluefield High School and will house about 350 students.

Dr. Deborah Akers, schools superintendent, said recently the school, when finished, will be “turn key,” complete with new furniture.

The school will also have updated safety features, a middle-school size gym/indoor space, improved restrooms and more of the them, larger playgrounds on flatter land, a music room with better acoustics, a wireless computer lab and call-back intercom systems.

“Touch TV” will replace smart boards, she said, since educators are “moving away” from those boards.

The new school will also be more energy efficient and have a metal roof, which lasts longer and has fewer leaks, she added.

Students will eventually name the new school.

Both Whitethorn and Memorial schools will be demolished after the 2019-20 school year.

Construction of another new school, Mountain View Elementary School, on 23 acres along Blue Prince Road was celebrated with a groundbreaking in mid-May 2018, and work on that school will soon be finished, in time for the 2019-20 school year.

Mountain View Elementary replaces the aging Ceres Elementary School and Cumberland Heights Elementary. The new school will also house some students from Glenwood and Brushfork schools.

Akers, staff members from the School Building Authority (SBA), officials from the West Virginia Department of Education and members of the architectural firm will officially break ground with ceremonial shovels at 1 p.m. Thursday at 673 Cumberland Road..

Signs and balloons will mark the current entrance to the property.

The Bluefield Primary School Planning Team consisted of more than 60 members including community members, service personnel, teachers, administrators, architects, and SBA staff.

The architectural firm, ZMM, with Dave Ferguson as project manager, designed the new facility. That design will be unveiled at the ceremony.

Avery “Gene” Bowers will serve as the clerk of the works.

Contractors for the project include Maynard C. Smith Construction Co., Douglas Equipment, Brewer & Company of WV, Inc., Pennington Plumbing and Heating, K.W. Electric Inc., and Rigney DigitalSystems Ltd. Co.

  Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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