CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George found members of the state Board of Education much more agreeable to plans for the Meadow Bridge community Wednesday than he did in a 2016 meeting.

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Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George.

The board gave unanimous approval to a plan that would combine Meadow Bridge elementary and high schools into one regional, comprehensive school. Three years ago the board rejected a proposal to bus Meadow Bridge kids to another area to attend school.

“We want to close two and build one building,” George told the board Wednesday about the new plan. “We want to develop a community sense of pride and a community sense of accepting those students down there from counties around us. We truly want to turn this into a regional facility.”

Both existing buildings have structural problems. George said the Meadow Bridge High School building isn’t worth repairing.

“The structure is so old and it’s in such a state of deterioration and disrepair that it’s just not feasible to invest money into the facility,” George said. “At minimum 21 fire marshal violations on the existing high school, most of which could probably shut down the building at any time.”

George added structural concerns keeps everyone off the second floor of the building.

A new school would take in students from nearby Summers, Greenbrier and Raleigh counties. George said school leaders in those counties are behind the project. Open enrollment would begin in 2021.

“What we’d like to provide is an opportunity for these students to go to the school that is closest to their front door,” George said.

The Summers-Fayette county line runs right through the middle of the Meadow Bridge community.

State school board members including Board President Dave Perry and Vice President Miller Hall have both visited the existing Meadow Bridge facilities and agreed Wednesday they need to be replaced.

The project will now go before the state School Building Authority for possible funding. George told state BOE members he’ll make his presentation in November with a decision coming from the SBA in December.

“We’re hoping that they fund it this cycle. If not, at least develop a plan to put us in the cycle for the funding. Fayette County has put a tremendous amount of local funds into the reconfiguration of the county. We’ve put in $20 million in three years,” George said. “Right now we don’t have a tremendous amount of money.”

The state BOE also approved a request Wednesday from the Mercer County Board of Education to change its Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan. The change will allow Montcalm Elementary to remain open with a new school to be built to replace the current Bluewell and Brushfork elementary schools.

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