CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead doesn’t like the timelines the state School Building Authority has produced for the construction of two new schools to replace flood-destroyed schools in Kanawha County.
As MetroNews reported earlier this week, the SBA, working the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is projecting the new Bridge/Clendenin Elementary School will open in time for the beginning of the 2020 school year and the new Herbert Hoover High School by the start of the 2021 school year, five years after the June 2016 flood.
Armstead sent a letter to several officials Thursday including FEMA Region III Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, state School Superintendent Steve Paine and state SBA Executive Director David Roach.
Armstead wrote, “I along with the parents of the students affected are concerned by the length of time indicated…..As you are aware, students in this area have been through a tremendous ordeal and it is essential that we provide them access to the completed classrooms as quickly as possible.”
Armstead wants the various agencies to “identify the areas where the process can be expedited.”
Lawmakers learned of the timelines during interim committee meetings earlier this week including information about a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bat Survey on the proposed property for the new Hoover school that is one of the reasons for the projected Fall 2021 opening.
“What is of the upmost importance to us, if that is the case (bats on the property), that we timber between this November, November of 2018 and March of 2019,” Hoover Principal Mike Kelley told lawmakers.
FEMA is paying most of the cost for the new schools so there are several federal requirements that have to be met.
The Bridge-Clendenin School is estimated to cost $34 million and the new Hoover school $58 million.