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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Comments

  • 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

            Phd,

            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

      ID BE GLAD TO HERE YOUR NAME?

    • 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

        +1

  • 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!

  • WV Dude

    It's a dump close it. The kids will have more opportunities at EHS.

  • Shadow

    Harman to Elkins is four mountains, not one.

    Consolidation has its benefits for high school but I hate to think of 6 to 12 years olds spends up to four hours a day on a bus. I do think there should be more elementary schools. As a matter of fact, a lot of educated individuals came out of one-room schools and got us where we were yesterday. Today, I am not sure.

    • The bookman

      There are some students who cross two mountains to get to Harman, who would only cross two mountains to get to EHS. A better education awaits in Elkins. Do the math. 13 grade levels, 150 kids. There are two grades with more than two grade levels being taught in classrooms. Is this Free Appropriate Education? Or is this obstinate thinking?

      • Shadow

        From what I have read about one room schools is that the faster children learn at a higher level and are not restrained by their grade level

        I can understand the anxiety that parents must have transporting them to school and particularly over snowy roads, not to mention the loss of home time.

        As to a better education, that is problematical. Bigger does not always mean better.

        • The bookman

          Shadow, I certainly understand their plight in Harman. It is a difficult situation. The community rallies around its school, and when there is a function, the DOH facility is swamped in cars from all the participation. They need a new building, or close the current one and ship them into town. I would support it as a taxpayer in the county. But, if the county can't get a bond passed for a new facility, I think it needs to close, as the maintenance issues are too extreme for the dwindling population and age of the building. The roads aren't that bad in the winter, as I travel them everyday. When they are bad, school is closed. And no, bigger isn't always better, but EHS is a super school, with enriched opportunities that just can't be achieved in a small school setting. Not that kids can't achieve at Harman, just that a broad curriculum can't be implemented for 40-50 Secondary grade level students. It's a tough situation.

      • Get Informed

        That's your opinion about the better education!! Oh plz don't even go there.

      • PhD

        The parent were afraid of the combined classrooms at first, but it worked. The children that only live two mountains away or four have the ability to transfer, but low and behold they choose Harman. Of course it seems that more Elkins students succeed and move on to college, simply because there are more students. I would a revue that Harman produces the same ratio of success. I would say the same education exists at Harman. Same county same opportunity, correct???

        • No Name

          The combining of classes barely worked and lots of kids struggled and suffered from it! Not to mention it was not an easy task for the teacher! Also, many who have graduated from Harman, have went on to college and have become very successful! It has nothing to do with the amount of students, that plays a factor in whether or not students go on to college!

        • The bookman

          The facts are the county struggles to staff the school based on the numbers of students in the formula. I believe that impacts the available resources allocated to the school, and ultimately impacts the available educational opportunities for the students. It was just this year that the VO AG/FFA program had to be saved at the last moment for Harman due to funding constraints.

          The road issue in and around Harman is a non issue, and here is why. The school busses already travel the worst of the roads anyway. The only mountains they don't deal with is Shaver's Mountain and Cheat, with Cheat being four lane.

          I believe that the kids at Harman get an excellent education from a dedicated staff and engaged community. Hopefully a resolution will occur that places the education of the students in front of the animosity that exists between the different regions of the county and the perceptions of the haves and have nots.

  • Teach

    Harman should not loose their school. The community should join together and insist the school be repaired! Don't act like this happened overnight! I bet if you asked the teachers, parents and students this problem was already there.

    Just like all the other schools around the state that are falling down because the state board wants consolidation! It's wrong because taxpayers have been paying taxes and for the last 25 years or more the state has done nothing to repair schools!

    Even when consolidation takes place and a new school is built that costs 13.5 million, they will not last. It may look pretty but the new one in my area already has major problems and it will not last 30 years. They will end up spending more money to repair the high dollar school where 13.5 million could have went to 13 other schools and each school could have had a million. Hire local WV people to do the repair work instead of these big companies that charge too much for poor quality work!! It's not right!!

    The article goes from 175,000 to 775,000?? That's funny! What happened to the entire area??? Only if it was hit by a tornado!!!! Come on and tell the truth! It's pretty sad that it's brought up now when school starts in 2 weeks!!!! LOL!!

    Hey! Aaron I told you that the schools were crumbling along with the roads and Randolph Co. isn't a southern county either! I hope you listened to Hoppy today about coal because WV needs coal! Plus WV has enough coal and gas to help support this country and the citizens don't have to choose between the two! The two can both survive and help one another if politics would let them!!!!

  • bob

    This is the beginning of the end for Harman School, some areas of Randolph Co. doesn't have representation on the school board, How can Lisa Wamsley be on the school board nad her husband the principal at TVHS? Coalton is another example not one elected member of the board of ed. is from Coalton, fair I think not!

    • Tom

      Apparently you want to go back to the times where every community had their own school which would probably be a good idea. The catch is that the taxpayers do not want to pay for that. It would be super if we each could have our community schools and the schools were well equipped with a full staff of teachers. Try to pass that levy!!!

      Randolph County BOE is apparently obeying the laws of the state and the wishes of their voters with their representation on the BOE.

      The defeat by the voters of the recent bond levy also was a message from the voters that Randolph County has more schools than the voters wish to maintain. Even the town of Harman had a big "Vote No" sign next to the highway on the recent levy. Did anyone there have any "Vote Yes" signs???

      • Get Informed

        And if the BOE is following the laws tell me why the school is not safe? Wiring.. Sprinkler system.. Ect! Wow they cannot get away with this one! Shows us the preventive maintenance reports along with the safety inspection. They can't bc there are NONE!

      • Get Informed

        Because they see NO MONEY come to that school. You don't have the right to decide if your tax money goes to Harman or anywhere else! Get used to it bc we had to.

      • Harman Mom

        What's the point in voting for the levy???? Really??? It's not like Harman benefits from it!!!

      • bob

        And I will vote "NO" and campaign against any levy the Randolph Co. BOE puts on the ballot. NO, NO , NO!!!!!!!!!

        • Tom

          But then do not complain when the Randolph Co. school system does not have as much as other counties who do support their schools by passing levies.

        • Tom

          Apparently the majority of the voters of Randolph Co.agreed with you. They voted down the last levy and replaced 2 of the board members.

    • The bookman

      Because Harman and Coalton are major population centers of Randolph County. I think not. Every town in a large expansive county like Randolph shouldn't be entitled to a BOE member.

      • Get Informed

        That has nothing to do with it!! You are really showing how smart you ppl are. If we only had one kid in our school we pay taxes and have a right to be a board member or anything else in that County! Wow population LMAO really

        • The bookman

          You certainly have a right to serve if elected, but have no right to a dedicated seat on the BOE.

      • bob

        We' re still taxpayers, just the same as people in Elkins and the Valley, you know them great metro areas.

        • The bookman

          Bob,

          I'm not anti Harman. I'm realistic.

          I live out of town. Significantly, out of town. I tell my kids that there is a benefit and a cost to living where we live. The cost is that it takes us 15 minutes on dry roads to get to pavement, and then another 15 to get to town. The benefit is that they get to live out of town. We are all taxpayers, as long as we are property owners. But all that money goes into the same fund to pay for our schools. We must be frugal and intelligent about how we determine how that money is spent. If the BOE determines it is in the best interest of the County to spend 3/4 of million dollars to bring Harman into compliance, I'll support it. If not, and it is deemed necessary to bring them into town to JRES, EMS, and EHS then so be it. What I can say is that there isn't a conspiracy to close Harman over a collapsed ceiling, and traveling US 33 24 miles, 1/3 of which is on four lane highway, shouldn't be the determining factor.

          Nor should anyone say that decisions are being made because Harman isn't represented on the BOE. Good people who give of their time sit on these BOE's to no great remuneration and enormous criticism, and they should be commended for their service, not questioned about some antiquated community conspiracy or long held feeling that they have been left out.

          • The bookman

            Get informed,

            I'm pretty informed, and a lot less emotional regarding my opinion than some here. I have no preconceived notion regarding the closure of Harman, but as a parent of children in two schools that will receive students from Harman, at least temporarily, I do have an interest. Kids who attend Harman aren't any different than the kids at the four "in town" elementary schools. We live in a rural county, and even the town kids are country kids. If my children attended a school with the structural and mechanical problems in Harman, I would not be silent until there was an emergency. There are avenues to pursue. But the options on the table have always included closing Harman. No one wants to face the reality of closing schools in Randolph County, but there are significant building issues and a lack of funds to deal with them. Face reality and don't hide from it. Your children attend an old building with a shrinking population. Many of the buildings have significant maintenance issues, not because they have been neglected, but because there isn't a source of funds to repair or replace them.

            When the county put forward a plan that engaged the citizens of the county to support additional funding for these needed repairs, it was defeated by a vote of the citizens. So who is to blame? Collectively, we are. Would $22 Million from the bond issue 2 years ago have been useful, $9 Million of which was state matching funds from the SBA? I think so.

          • Get Informed

            And again you don't know what you are talking about!! It goes way beyond a collapsed ceiling. The kids set in school in the winter with coats on bc the heat doesn't work most of the time. wiring not to code, no sprinkler system incase of fire, ect now tell me you would approve for your child to be in a school like that! Sad part is had the ceiling not fell in no one would have ever known they was not doing the changes to the school as the codes and ect changed. Show us the maintenance/inspection records... Not going to happen bc they have none so what would you think?? Get informed before you make stupid comments bc Harman could really have a law suit for the danger the kids have been put in going to a school that was the BOE duty to keep safe for the kids!

          • The bookman

            Bob,

            Old wounds never seem to heal. All I can say is that no one sets around thinking of ways to put the screws to Harman or Coalton. Every district has limited resources and tough decisions. Not supporting future funding needs will only lead to more difficult choices, not more resources.

          • bob

            just like there way no conspiracy when they used Coalton to get Elkins a new school, you better wake up and quit drinking so much koolaid.