HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Early voting is underway in Cabell County on an $87 million school construction bond that will be up for election on Aug. 22.
Cabell County Schools spokesman Jedd Flowers tells MetroNews school system supporters feel positive about the chances OF the bond being approved.
“It’s up to the voters. We put it out there and we’d try to give them a good package,” Flowers said.
The 10-day early voting period began last Friday on the plan that features eight projects highlighted by the extensive renovation and expansion of the Cabell County Career Technology Center. Flowers said the expansion could include a move to the Huntington Mall.
“We could possibly buy the old Sears location which has been closed for quite some time and convert that. That would double the amount of space we have square footage-wise and allow us to expand greatly the number of programs we offer to both high school and adult students,” Flowers said.
Other projects include the replacement of the county’s three oldest remaining elementary schools and the construction of safe entrances at Cabell Midland and Huntington high schools.
“We are asking for $87 million from local taxpayers. The district is going to put in $10 million from our general fund and then we’re hoping to have a match from the (state) School Building Authority of an additional $10 million. So it’s really a $107 million impact on the local area,” Flowers said.
Cabell County taxpayers recently finished paying off a 2006 bond issue. Flowers said approval of the new bond won’t change taxes much because of low interest rates.
Cabell County School Superintendent Ryan Saxe has been holding virtual town hall meetings because of the pandemic. Flowers said school system officials considered backing off the bond plan because of COVID-19 but supporters urged them to keep going.
“We thought about maybe not doing this originally and we went to all of the economic development leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, HADCO, the development corporation, and they all said, ‘Please do it. It’s the stimulus we need right now,'” Flowers said.
Cabell County has an impressive record on bond issue votes.
“Thankfully we’ve never had a bond issue fail in Cabell County because our people generally see that we do what we say we are going to do and we have made great improvements in the district and because the bonds pass we are able to do other things,” Flowers said.
The bond projects include:
Meadows Elementary – A new, replacement facility built on the current site or relocated to a new site.
Davis Creek Elementary – A new, replacement facility relocated to a new site.
Milton Elementary – A new, replacement facility on the existing site or a nearby site owned by the Board of Education.
Nichols Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a safe school entrance, sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.
Hite Saunders Elementary – Renovations including, but not limited to, a sprinkler system, new windows, doors, roof, and HVAC.
Cabell Midland High School – Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.
Huntington High School – Renovations including, but not limited to, safe school entrances.
Cabell County Career Technology Center – Extensive renovations and expansion at the current site, or relocation of the center to a new site. Creation of spaces for additional CTE program offerings.