HARMAN, W.Va. — It appears there’s a growing chance that students at Harman School in Randolph County will have to begin the new school year at schools in Elkins because of a structure problem at their school.

Randolph County School Superintendent Terry George told MetroNews Monday he’ll ask the county school board Tuesday night to give him authority to seek alternative funding for the repairs, allow him to start the repairs once the funding is secured and allow him to move the students to other schools until the work can be done.

A large section of plaster fell from the ceiling in one of the rooms. George said the state Fire Marshal’s Office and architectural firm inspected the damage and determined the building was not safe for children until repairs can be made.

“It’s just simply that, a safety issue,” Superintendent George said. “I cannot place students in a facility that’s unsafe for them.”

Harman has 150 students from elementary through high school. The students would be sent to Elkins High, Elkins Middle and an elementary school if that has to be done.

George said it would take about $175,000 of repairs to get the building ready for elementary students and as much as $775,000 to remediate the entire area. He’s asked the state School Building Authority for funding and also is looking in other areas.

The bus ride from Harman to Elkins is 26 miles and over a mountain. The school year begins Aug. 14 so Superintendent George said beginning the school year in Elkins may indeed have to happen for the Harman students.

“It’s likely but I’m not going to rule out the impossible,” he said.

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  • Jenny Lambert

    Mr. George needs to do some homework on the schools in his county. Depending on where you live in Harman it's 35 plus miles one way from Harman to Elkins. There are 3 mtns and a 4-lane between Elkins and Harman all of which are dangerous in the winter time. It appears he has pre decieded on the situation since he apparently knows little about us or our school or the distance and geography between us. I agree things need to be fixed and we can fix them without putting our children at risk.

    • Bitmapped

      Actually, it's 24.6 miles from Harman School to Elkins High School not 35+ miles.

      • Just Saying

        It is 35 miles from Harman to Elkins High clocked it today.

  • Thejeaux

    Stay classy Elkins!

  • Harry

    I'm sorry to inform anyone from Elkins that is either worried or glad that Harman students will be coming there. But from what I have heard you'll be lucky to get 20 students from Harman to come to Elkins. A lot have said they are either going to try to get into Tucker County schools or they will be homeschooled. Harman kids hate Elkins it's as simple as that. Harman kids will be treated like crap of they come to Elkins and they know it. They will be bullied by not only the students but by the staff as well. Elkins kids naturally assume Harman kids are all "inbred", "stupid", or a redneck. Harman kids will be neglected. Elkins gets whatever they want and they Harman to be forgotten.

    • MDS

      I respectfully disagree with your comments. My family have ties in Elkins and Harman. When attending church services, school functions and community events. My children are welcomed with open arms at Harman, not shunned as you are suggesting.
      Most of the children in the Harman area are more polite and respectful than a lot of the ones that attend Elkins High School where my children go to school. Yes you may have a few that are in trouble, but don't we in any crowd.
      As adults we need to be sending words of encouragement to these children from both Elkins and Harman about this situation. It has to happen and it is our responsibility that it is done in the best manner possible. So quit plotting community against community and school against school. This is not what it is about. It is about making the best of a sad situation and making sure that all of these students get along and that they are getting the best education possible. Every year there are Harman students who attend Elkins High School for Vocational class' and for collage prep class' and to my knowledge there has never been a problem with this, all the children adapt very well.
      As far as the teachers go, I will guarantee there will be no child from Harman neglected or stomped on in the presents of any teacher. Most of our teachers are the best and will respect these children from Harman as much as they do the ones from Elkins.
      It is our responsibility as parents to make sure the attitudes stay positive and we keep our negative comments to ourselves.
      My thoughts and prayers are with both the Harman and Elkins communities, that we can make this transition as smooth as possible for our students and educators.

    • bob

      Even thou I have commented on this subject, I respectfully desagree with you when it comes to your kids being treated badly at any Elkins school. When they closed Coalton my kids were treated with respect by the students and teachers of both the EMS and the high school . What i'm upset about is, I know what losing your school does to your community, "Look at Coalton"

  • Concerned Elkins Mom

    Placing yourself in the Harman parents shoes is the first step Elkins parents should be taking. What "if" the role was reversed? The comfort level is being ripped away from these parents and students. Changing schools is not the issue, it's the distance. All of us Elkins parents should be fighting as well. How will Elkins Middle handle the extra students? It won't be easy. They barely have time to finish a lunch as it is. Yes, there are students that elect to take the vocational classes in Elkins, but they make that decision. It's not necessary, nor was the VoAg class that they fought to keep, but there were some that were passionate about it. What if they started taking always Elkins activities? How would it turn out? Would Elkins parents be standing at the BOE knocking down the door? This isn't just a Harman issue! This will affect Elkins as well. There will now be what 5 elementary schools combining in the EMS building?? High school students should be concerned about scholarship opportunities as well. There are Harman students who will be giving you a run for your money. These kids receive one on one instruction over there. My child is elementary age and EMS scares the heck out of me. The thought of Harman coming in as well solidifies that concern. Too many students. Do you parents realize our kids only receive about 4 hrs of quality instructional time a day in public school??? They can move in extra teachers yes, but its chaotic enough. Why do you think there is such a huge movement in Randolph county to homeschooling or private schooling?? Elkins parents should be showing their support. You wouldn't want your Elkins child on the sideline while a Harman child steals the show. God forbid. I've heard so many negative comments about Harman I could scream. You should be ashamed of yourselves. They are kids, just like yours. Someone loves them, worries about them, would move the Earth if they could. Elkins, Tygarts Valley, Coalton, Harman... Who is to say any are smarter than the rest. There are kids who succeed and kids who don't. These parents own property over there. They have jobs all over even as far as Grant Co, Lewis Co., Tucker Co. You can't expect them to change their lives to accommodate this change. I will stand by Harman not only for the benefit to our Elkins schools, but for the benefit of Harman. Keep their school open!

    • Get Informed

      Thank you for the kind words! And you are correct they are just kids. These kids have a lot to offer and have the determination to do so! And they need to worry about the kids coming to Elkins and stealing the show or at least being a big part of it bc they have the talent to do so if given a fair chance!

  • Harman Resident

    We will all stand up for our school. Harman school should have been repaired long before this roof problem got so bad. Seems like we are always been put off when other schools get what should have been spread out to all of Randolph Co. Our school is very cold during the winter months and so hot in the summer that sometimes it is unbearable! Why.....because all the money goes to the larger schools. Just not fair!! I hope and pray that this can be resolved and our children are left right here where they belong! Good Ole Harman High!! We are proud of our community ....and whoever made the bad remark about us not being nothing must be speaking about their own life!

    • MDS

      We just need to make sure we do not plot school against school. I feel the students will make the transition well and can be best done without the negative comments from the communities. The bad vibes the parents are putting off about this situation will soon transfer into the minds of our children.

  • bob

    Harman will be used to offset the 100,000 dollar shortfall the county now has, so it doesn't matter how many mountains your kids have to cross, whats good for Elkins should be good for the county. "Right" Some kids from the Coalton area is on the bus for a hour each way, so you had better come up with a better argument. GOOD LUCK!

    • Get Informed

      Very true but those kids do not travel the same kind of dangerous roads to get to school as these kids will. Board officials have cancelled coming to the school in the winter bc of the mountains! So what's that say?

  • Paul

    The state SBA recently authorized over $300,000 to give Lewis and Gilmer County for a ground slip on new construction so surely we can find money to repair this school and get it done without all the negative discussion coming with closure and longer bus rides. Shame on officials waiting till plaster crumbles and scream " the sky is falling".

    • bob

      They did the same at valley head but the people came up with the money to repair the facilty, maybe thats a option at Harman.

      • Get Informed

        That's what we are doing!! But when we had no idea just how bad the neglect was with the school it is hard to get that much money so fast. If the ceiling had not fell in the kids would be back in school there and no one would have known how unsafe they let the school become! It took the Fire Marshal to find all the neglect to the school. Sad

        • Jason412

          How did you have no idea how bad it was, but below post "The kids set in school in the winter with coats on bc the heat doesn't work most of the time". Obviously you've known about it since at least last winter.

          Have you ever been inside your child's school? If so, how do you not notice there is no sprinkler system?

          These are issues that could have been brought up by parents long before the ceiling fell in.

          • northforkfisher

            Unless your an engineer or inspector to catch most of these problems is impossible most of the time the moms are in the school than the dads. Now days most maintenance men of small like Harman are split between two schools, making it hard to keep up the schools.

  • N M

    It's not 26 miles--the sign at the intersection of 33 and 32 in Harman says 33 miles, and the high school in Elkins is another 4-5 miles. And it is over Kelly Mountain, Rich Mountaim AND middle mountain, with grades between 7-9% the entire ride. The failure of this reporting to be accurate and truthful does not bode well for anyone--students, teachers or consumers of WV Metro News.

    • Jason412

      I know that sign says 33 miles, but Google Maps says it's 24.6 miles, 29 minutes, from Harman to EHS.

      • Get Informed

        Have you traveled those mountains in the winter in 29 min? Don't think so! The mountains are shut down a lot in the winter bc of the accidents.. so do the kids get motel rooms for the night? Don't be so uninformed before you post a stupid comment like that.

        • Jason412

          I'm sorry, I didn't realize the school year started in the middle of the winter. What month is it starting in Harman? December? January? Or is it August? When there will be no snow what so ever on the ground.

          Does this article say they will spend the entire school year traveling to Elkins, or does it say the beginning of the year?

          I didn't say anything about the winter, I was talking about mileage. Bad weather doesn't make it 33 miles instead of 24.6. In snow, it will take longer than the 29 minutes suggested by Google, but no amount of snow adds 9 miles to a road.

          Since this article says it will be the beginning of the school year, it is completely accurate to say the trip could be made in around 30 minutes. There will be at least two full months of school, maybe three months or more, before snow really starts to impede traveling.

          That is plenty of time to fix a ceiling, and the article in no way indicates they plan to still be doing repairs well in to the winter, I would suggest it is not my comment that was stupid or based off inaccurate information.

          • Shadow

            Rich Mountain in the Winter gives new meaning to Four Wheel Drift.

          • Phd

            My apologies then!

          • Jason412


            My original post was in response to NM's post of
            "It's not 26 miles--the sign at the intersection of 33 and 32 in Harman says 33 miles"

            Since that sign is not far from the high school, that is what I was talking about. I was not trying to debate the time until "Get Informed" said my post was stupid and uninformed. The post was accurate in that, in August, the trip from the school in Harman to EHS can be made in about 30 minutes, as pointed out by someone below, around 10 miles of that is a four lane highway.

            I, in no way, am saying it is an easy quick trip that I think children should be making every day. I was simply stating that Metronews was not understating the mileage by 7 miles, if anything they overstated it.

          • Phd

            Jason- 30 min?? Yes maybe from Harman, but not all children live in Harman. And the argument is: If they start them out going to Elkins, they will never reopen. The excuse will be made that "it works."

  • Peggy Bradburn

    The board of education finds funding when it comes to Elkins schools. When one of there schools needed repairs they moved some of them up the street a couple miles and they move in trailers. These kids won't be crossing 1 mountain they will be crossing 3 mountains and in winter are not safe half the time for regular vehicles let alone school buses. Why can't they find trailers and leave the kids where they are? You can bet if it was happening in Elkins they wouldn't be sending them to Harman the only time they do that is when they expel a student form school and they send them to Harman. Parent transport for that.

    • Karen White

      Peggy I think that Kelly mt might make it four mountains. I have no kids that go so I shouldn't have no say but if I had kids I wouldn't want them crossing those mountains either I have been on those roads and its not safe makes no sense to send thoses kids across them. What if those bus wrecks look how many kids could get hurt.

  • northforkfisher

    This one time where the wear and tear, fuel, time on the bus, and the overall weather would be totally against consolidation. There is times that closing the smaller school is the right choice but when all of the above factors come into play repairing the school is the best option.

  • Glad To Hear

    I hope Harman is closed down. Will not affect me. So I do not care. Harman is nothing but the dope capital of Randolph county.

    • Scotty McDonald


    • be part of the solution

      If it does not affect you don't make bad comments showing your intelligence level. NO GLAD TO HEAR Harman is not the dope capital of Randolph County. I am proud to be from Harman. I am proud of the people from Harman. Your comments serve no purpose. That being said I will go no further giving your comment any further thought. Harman, Whitmer, Dryfork, and all other parts of the north end of the county are something a lot of places can't say and that is that we are a family not just a community we are a family and we are working extremely hard to work with the BOE to solve the problem. Rude comments only hurts the situation and leads to contempt. Take these comments and strengthen our resolve. My advise to you would be this if you can't say anything good say nothing at all. As for my community, I have never been more proud to live where I do and keep on what we are doing together we can make a difference. People are taking notice that we are not the lost hole of Randolph County but we are rising to the top.

    • MDS

      You need to step back and look at the comment you just made. How many students at Harman do you know of was expelled from school because they were caught doing drugs in their classroom. My son attends EHS and sees this problem daily. How many meth labs have they found in the parks of Harman? EXACTLY!

    • No Name

      Get realistic!!! There is drugs everywhere!!! I don't care where you live....drugs are among all of us, not just at Harman!! That has nothing to do with our kids not wanting to leave their home school! That is not a good reason at all to close the school! If anyone thinks that drugs are an issue in only Harman, they need to wake up!

    • N M

      Thankfully the positive change in the world doesn't come from eople who don't care because they are unaffected, and then make a wildly untrue and factually unsupported accusation that, even if it were true, is totally irrelevant. Harman is filled with upright citizens who invest in Harman's children, school and community: if you are unaffected, or otherwise find yourself unable to participate in this matter with truthful and relevant input, stand aside while intelligent people discuss this matter truthfully and with the best interests of the children in mind.

      • No Name

        Thank you!

      • The bookman


  • PhD

    Explain two brand new maintenance vehicles purchased by Randolph BOE. Explain in years past Forest Hills going back to EHS (simply b/c the community was upset) everything changed back to EHS: uniforms, gym floor, paint colors...right up to the letterhead used in the offices. Harman on the other hand has parents that raise the money for most of what Harman receives. Senior classes spending left over money raised for a senior trip on computers, printers, etc for the school. Isn't it time for some attention to be given to Harman? Poor maintenance and severe lack of attention by the BOE is why Harman is where it's at now. This issue is a priority to the people of that area, just as it would be to any of you who aren't supporting it. If the safety of children is the concern how can someone justify safety by shipping children over 4 mountains in the winter when the road conditions can change in the blink of an eye. The Alpena area is in the snow belt. Our Fireman are already consumed with the non-driving tourists already congesting the highway. Preschoolers getting up before 5am? How can these unworthy Harman children participate in after school programs and sports? Is the county going to provide babysitters until the parent can finish their work day and come get them so that they may participate? And as far as opportunities go... Well... My hiney. Most everyone knows Elkins politics. Harman children will "set the bench." Where will the outcast children of Elkins now attend? The ones that are pregnant, in trouble, or just don't fit in?
    I don't even live in Harman. I'm 35 minutes away, but my heart goes out to the parents and students affected.

    • Former student of both

      PhD, I have to give you kudos on the points you made! I myself went to Harman, Forest Hills and EHS. I had totally forgotten about the name change. Even as a child I remember thinking what a waste of money that was.

  • Teach

    I hope and pray the Harman school isn't closed! I would never put a child in harms way but come on this problem didn't happen over night!!

    Why does it take a levy - because I agree we already pay enough taxes but the state dept. won't tell the state exactly how much is available for building repairs! You wouldn't believe how much money the state building authority has! That's just a Mrs. Manchin BOE Pres., and former Mark Manchin Buiding Auth. ploy to require counties to pass a levy before money will be given to counties but it is taxpayers money and county superintendents need to get a backbone and communities and ask for it! No we should demand it!!

    Don't think Harrison co. isn't in for a rude awakening! With what 5 or 6 high schools! What will Mr. Manchin say about that? Students won't have as many opportunities to play sports or shine in the Big consolidated schools! Consolidation is not the answer and smaller schools are better and how could they cost anymore to maintain than a 15 million dollar new one???? Why are all the schools falling down??? The state has done nothing for 25 years! My house was built in the 50's and I've maintained it over the years don't give us excuses!! Look across this country - schools look like something from the ghettos! This country can't even take care of it's own!!

    • WV Guru

      Mr Manchin has already show the disrespect he has for Government Property when he left the keys to his Government Car on the floorboards and the door unlocked. When found, it was trashed and written off. But he was never disciplined or billed.

  • Practical

    Yes, you have mountains. No one has said Harman is losing the school. Repairs cannot be made overnight. Small towns need their schools as the center of the community, but not at the expense of safety. The small town schools must comply with the same code requirements as any other. Seems to me that truly smartest thing to do in the long term is maintain an elementary school there and let middle and high school students go to Elkins. If they choose to participate in classes at the Tech center, they make the trip anyway

    • Get Informed

      They choose to make the trip to the Vo-Tech! And yes small schools need to follow the same codes but this remark shows you know nothing about the situation. Had the ceiling not fallen in the kids would be starting school in Harman! With electrical wiring not to code. .No sprinkler system ect. Now tell me how many times codes have changed thru the years and not once was the maintenance done to keep the school safe! The BOE got lucky this time bc their were no kids in the school when it happened or they would be in a law suit explaining where the records are with all preventive maintenance and inspections. Well Judge we don't have any is all they could say! Sad bunch of ppl over there.

  • WV Man

    Wrong. You must cross four large mountains between Elkins and Harman. Not the safest nor shortest trip on hazardous winter days.

    • WV Dude

      Wrong. 3 mountains Kids that live at Snowshoe have a LONGER ride to high school and they have done it since 1969.

      • Get Informed

        God Bless them! But that doesn't change the fact we have a school for the kids in Harman. Neglect and stupidity is why the school is unsafe!