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Fayette schools rebuild continues; 2 new schools set to open later this month

OAK HILL, W.Va. — Two Fayette County school construction projects have reached the punch list stage.

The new Oak Hill Middle School and New River Primary (PK-2) School are just days from being turned over to the school system,

Fayette County School Superintendent Terry George told MetroNews Tuesday.”We expect all of those (punch list items) to be cleared up by the end of this week. We will allow the teachers to come in and put things in their classrooms starting on Monday,” George said.

The new schools are located on the Oak Hill High School campus not far from Route 19. The schools will join three other schools already on that campus, Oak Hill High, New River Intermediate (3-5) and the Fayette County Technical Education Center. There will be about 3,000 students on the campus each day, George said.

The school system has spent more than a year mapping out the logistics of getting that many students and parents on and off the sprawling campus, George said.

“We’ve developed a new access for our buses. They will come through a private access road that we’ve built. We’ve developed a system for parents to drop students off at two other entrances,” George said. “If people follow the directions that we’ve sent out to them by email, mail and by radio ads, everything will work out real well. If someone doesn’t know the pattern there could be a real problem.”

Fayette County closed Valley and Fayetteville high schools at the end of last school year. The Fayetteville students will attend Oak Hill High School and the former Valley students can attend either Oak Hill, Midland Trail or Riverside High in Kanawha County. George said Tuesday 135 have chosen Riverside, 70 Oak Hill and 30 students will attend Midland Trail.

The next building projects in Fayette County schools will go out to bid next month. Additions and renovations are planned for Valley PK-8, Oak Hill High and Midland Trail High. Work is expected to begin in late October.

The last phase of the Fayette projects will be a new school to replace the elementary and high school at Meadow Bridge and a new elementary school at Midland Trail. The Meadow Bridge project will go before the state School Building Authority this fall for funding.

George said the last few years have been very busy.

“We’re over halfway there, right now, as we start. There are still two big projects left but we have a plan for those. The benefits academically for the students are going to be known immediately,” George said.

George said they are already beginning to see fewer teaching vacancies and a little bump in student enrollment because of the new construction.

“We don’t have nearly the vacancies that we’ve had in the past. We’re like every other county in the state, we still have some vacancies in certain critical areas but we have been fortunate to retain some of our teachers. We’ve had some teachers come back to us,” George said.

The open house for the new schools in Oak Hill is set for Aug. 19. Teachers and staff report to work for the new school year Aug. 21 with the first day for students set for Aug. 28.

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