GRIFFITHSVILLE, W.Va. — Lincoln County School Superintendent Jeff Kelley said a report from a structural engineer last week about the building that houses Duval Elementary and Middle School was not a complete surprise and his office had been preparing for just such an emergency.
The system received word that the building in Griffithsville will be condemned for occupancy due to structural issues.
Kelley said he and his team had begun working on a contingency plan earlier this year when another part of the building was forced to close and the county feared the worst.
“We had a template and we weren’t flying blind. We’ve been working on this and we hope to have something ironed out by the end of the week, but it’s going to require the relocation of most of our students,” Kelley explained Monday.
A plus for county officials is the PK-2 grades are housed in a different building and will be unaffected by any changes. Kelley said his staff has to worry about new quarters for students in grades 3 through 8. He said they have identified three different facilities to house those students depending on where they live.
“We’re speculating at this point, but we think we’re going to use Midway Elementary in Alum Creek, Hamlin PK-8 in Hamlin and we’ll be able to use our county board office facility as well,” he said.
Kelley and his team are just finalizing the immediate fix, but he knows the long-term fix is potential consolidation and new schools. The idea hasn’t sold well in the past in Lincoln County.
“I think the board here long before I arrived attempted to build a new school but couldn’t’ get the support locally. But we’re going to have to get the support so we can not arrive at situations like this in the future,” he said.
The Lincoln County school district is currently operating under a state of emergency from the state Board of Education for different reasons.
The state board extended the emergency declaration for another six months in early June. The approved motion said the next review would focus on the effectiveness of the Lincoln County BOE.