GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.Va. — The start of summer vacation for students in Greenbrier County means moving time at Rupert Elementary School.
On Wednesday, a school move is planned from the existing location into a more than $5 million new school located about a mile away that’s attached, in part, to Western Greenbrier Middle School.
Beginning this fall, doors will keep the two schools separated.
— Jenny Harden (@PrincipalHarden) May 2, 2019
The new Rupert Elementary School stands as the replacement for the school that saw flooding in the June 2016 Flood.
Floodwaters made it into the school’s bottom floor, the gymnasium, cafeteria and kindergarten building.
Extensive cleaning and renovation efforts allowed students to return, however, flooding has remained a constant threat and the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicated federal funding would not be available for the location following any future flooding.
Overall, the new school represents a big improvement, said Rupert Principal Jenny Harden.
“It’ll be air-conditioned. It’ll be one contained building instead of five external buildings and it’ll be one floor and one of my buildings right now is three floors,” she explained.
“We will gain so much education classroom time because of putting coats on and taking coats off that we do now of going out in the winter and the rain, so seat time will increase.”
She said teachers were already excited.
As for the 187 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 5th, “I believe the kids are excited, but I don’t think they really realize they’ll be in a new school.”
The school on Crimson Tide Way opens to students for the 2019-2020 school year in August.
While construction on replacement schools in Kanawha County and Nicholas County for those destroyed in the June 2016 Flood has not yet started, Harden said she was happy to see the final work being done at her new school.
At Rupert, the last of the work on the gym and office was on track to wrap up this month.
“We put a little bit of (Greenbrier County) money with the SBA (state School Building Authority) money and we were able to start. We broke ground in November,” Harden said.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Rupert Elementary School was tentatively scheduled for September 19, 2019.