CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state School Building Authority approved the extension of more time and funding for the construction of schools across the state during its meeting Monday in Charleston.
The SBA gave the okay to supplemental funding for schools in Wood, Mercer, McDowell and Hampshire counties.
The increasing construction costs attached to inflation have been the cause for delay in building new schools and providing updates to existing ones for a little over a year now.
Making adjustments on square footage allowances for the projects was a specific detail being discussed at the meeting, as the school board’s bids for the projects were being affected by inflation costs.
“That is a lot of the reason why these schools came back to talk to us today, because, when their bids came in they were higher than they thought, they were higher than the square footage allows for these projects, and so they have to look for some help,” SBA executive director, Andy Neptune told Metro News following Monday’s meeting.
Last year, voters approved over $60 million to Wood County Schools for the construction of three new schools along with making updates and expansions on others. The SBA additionally approved its $21 million commitment on Monday to go into Wood County School’s bond for the current projects.
In addition, the SBA provided around $9 million in more funding for two new elementary schools in Hampshire County, as well as around $4 million each towards elementary schools in McDowell and Mercer counties.
Many schools across the state have been consolidating, expanding, and starting fresh in a new, modern buildings throughout the past decade, an endeavor which Neptune said was very much needed.
“I think you could say that across the state of West Virginia, there are a lot of schools that are in need, a lot of schools that need help,” he said.
A total of $40 million was incorporated into the recent budget bill, or House Bill 2024 signed by Governor Justice that will go into the SBA’s construction fund.
Neptune said that he was grateful for the support of the governor as well as House and Senate members in the recent legislative session, and he said that he’s confident their support will continue as the SBA and school boards across the state work to finish the ongoing projects.
“We hope that they continue as we know they will for the success of education in our schools with the facilities that our children need,” said Neptune.
The SBA plans to hold another meeting in June.