Students at Marsh Fork Elementary are getting used to their new surroundings. They attended class in their brand new, state of the art building for the first time on Monday.
Interim Principal Tracie Wood says the facility is even better than they imagined.
“Everything is just like a big Christmas present!”
The new facility replaces the old Marsh Fork Elementary just three miles down the road. It’s a big change for the staff and 250 students. Unlike the old building, the new Marsh Fork has Smart Board technology in each classroom and Wood says the school is fully wired.
“We will be piloting some of the Internet technology for other places in the state,” says Wood.
Also on the cutting edge is the safety system within the school. Each classroom locks from the inside. The only way to enter is with a swipe card.
“To know that we have better security here than we had at the old school…it’s pretty uplifting for all of us,” according to Wood.
The old Marsh Fork Elementary was surrounded by controversy — literally. There was a coal silo just a few hundred yards away from the building. Just above the school was a coal slurry impoundment. There were also issues about coal dust and clean air inside the building.
The new school was funded through a $2.5-million grant from the Annenberg Foundation, $1.5-million from Massey Energy, $1.5-million from the Raleigh County Board of Education and $3.1 million from the state School Building Authority.
Wood says it took a lot of people to make the new school a reality.
“We are just really, really thankful for what we have,” says Wood.
Teachers say the new school is a place to foster learning in a clean, controversy-free atmosphere.