CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia State Board of Education are expected to make a decision Wednesday regarding a request by Fayette County education leaders to consolidate public education services in the Meadow Bridge area.
The state School Board’s agenda includes a vote on a proposed change to Fayette County’s Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan (CEFP).
Currently, Meadow Bridge Elementary provides instruction for students from pre-K through 6th grade, while students in 7th-through-12th grades attend Meadow Bridge High. Under the proposal submitted by the Fayette County Board of Education and the schools superintendent, the existing schools would be replaced by the construction of a regional school for all area students.
According to the description on the state BOE agenda, the school would be a “comprehensive school for students in the Meadow Bridge attendance area as well as the bordering counties of Summers, Greenbrier, and Raleigh. The consolidation/ merger of the Meadow Bridge schools will result in the provision of departmentalized instruction for students in grade 6 from certified teachers, full-time art, music, physical education programs; career-technical education programs; access to more clubs; infusion of foreign language in elementary school; STEM/STEAM opportunities for all students; and a combined counseling service.”
Over the years, various bond proposals to address school funding issues in Fayette County have been defeated overwhelmingly, in part because passage would have meant the closure of Meadow Bridge High. The most recent bond referendum was rejected by nearly 62 percent of voters in 2015.
The state BOE seized control of the Fayette County system in 2010 after a performance audit showed numerous problems with personnel, policies and maintenance. The board voted in 2017 to return the system to local control. Later that year, the board approved all closures and consolidations proposed for Fayette County schools, with the exception of Meadow Bridge High. Board members cited transportation times and related logistics as reasons for the exception. Had the closure occurred, Meadow Bridge High students would have been required to attend either Midland Trail High or Greenbrier West High in Greenbrier County.
If the BOE approves the change in the CEFP, a funding request will be taken up by the state School Building Authority in November. McKinley Architecture and Engineering of Wheeling recently was selected by Fayette County officials to build the facility at an estimated cost of $18 million.
The Meadow Bridge project is one of several school construction projects either underway or planned for Fayette County over a several-year period. The county is scheduled to open a new Oak Hill Middle School and New River Elementary next week.