Kanawha board approves land acquisition for high school

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education approved Monday a resolution to acquire land needed for a new high school in the Elk River community.

The board, voting unanimously, authorized the acquisition of around 238 acres on Frame Road for a new Herbert Hoover High School, replacing the institution destroyed in the June 2016 flood.

The new site is across the state Division of Highways garage between the Elkview exit on Interstate 79 and U.S. Route 119.

Elkview Baptist Church currently owns the land. Chuck Smith, the Kanawha County Schools executive director of facility planning, said he does not believe condemnation will be needed to acquire the property.

“This just enables us to cut loose when everything is in process and the environmental assessment is done,” he said. “It enables us to start negotiating in taking the property.”

The board’s vote, according to Smith, will speed up the process in acquiring land once the environmental assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Smith said while there is not a specific date when the assessment will be completed, officials believe the work for both the high school site and the approved elementary school site near Jordan Creek is nearing their ends.

“It’s been gaining momentum all along,” he added.

The board at its March 14 meeting approved acquiring the land for a new elementary school; Clendenin Elementary School was also destroyed by flooding.

Once environmental assessments are complete, Smith said a 30-day comment period must be held. FEMA will reimburse the county around 90 percent of the costs.

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