CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state School Building Authority approved more than $10 million in supplemental funding Monday for ongoing school construction projects in three West Virginia counties because of increasing construction costs.
The SBA has been dealing with the inflation-fueled construction cost increases for about a year and has even put on hold the funding of any new projects.
SBA Chairman Brian Abraham said Monday’s move is part of a new temporary policy that allows for supplemental funding. He said the money is only approved after the counties do some budget trimming with their project architects.
“The counties shared in the pain here,” Abraham told MetroNews. “It’s not simply providing extra money. This is after everything has been gone through and they still can’t meet their budget. The SBA is trying to keep these projects going.”
The SBA approved $2.2 million in supplemental funding for the Central Elementary School project in Hampshire County, an additional $6 million for work at Frankfort Elementary School in Mineral County and nearly $2 million more for the Alderson Elementary project in Greenbrier County.
Abraham said the SBA is left with little choice but to fund the existing projects instead of approving another round of new projects.
“If we don’t bite the bullet and fund those ongoing projects yet went on and approved a whole new round of needs requests this year, then at the end of the day nothing would get completed because there wouldn’t be enough funding to get anything done,” Abraham said.
The SBA and its staff is continuing to monitor construction markets in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to try and get an idea of when things may get better here. Abraham said this could be the new normal.
“It may mean on a yearly basis we can’t do as many projects as we historically have but that’s yet to be seen,” Abraham said.
The SBA also approved project timeline extensions for the Mineral and Greenbrier county projects during Monday’s meeting.