Wyoming County Schools was awarded just over $9 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority Monday.
A new elementary school in Pineville could be under construction this summer as a result.
“I’m predicting this summer,” said James McGrady, assistant superintendent of the county school system.
The county was awarded $2 million in SBA emergency funding and another $7,397,248 in “needs” money for construction of the new facility which will house pre-school through fourth graders, McGrady said.
The school system will have to provide $2,349,312 in local matching funds, McGrady explained.
“I think we will be able to manage that,” McGrady said.
“We’ve been trying to save our money for a few years for this,” added Frank Blackwell, county schools superintendent.
Blackwell said the SBA had construction project requests totaling nearly $300 million and only about $71 million to award for projects across the state. Of that $71 million, SBA board members had earmarked $50 million for projects that would be matched with local bond monies.
“That only left about $21 million for the non-bond projects,” Blackwell said. “We were very fortunate to get the money. We had a lot of people working to help us.”
“This is good news for Wyoming County and good news for Pineville. This will be a huge project,” McGrady said.
“We’ve tried for several years to get this funded,” he added. “We were turned down last year, even though it was rated one of the top projects in the state.”
Officials also presented the project to the SBA in 2009.
The current Pineville Elementary School has been flooded twice, thus the project qualified for the additional emergency funding, he noted.
In 2001, the school was flooded with several feet of water and taken back to the studs for clean-up and restoration, costing about $7 million.
Again in 2009, the lower level had about three inches of water inside. Clean-up this time cost a quarter-of-a-million dollars, with a “lot of elbow grease by a lot of people,” according to schools officials.
“We want to move the school out of the flood plain,” McGrady emphasized, adding the site is still being discussed.
Preliminary sites have been discussed, he said, but no one site has been decided.
Students will remain in the current building until construction of the new facility is completed, McGrady said.
“This is for the health and safety of our students and staff,” Blackwell said.
The superintendent noted an architect worked to estimate the cost of a new elementary school building, and officials hope the entire cost of the structure can be completed for the $12 million awarded.
Frank Mann, assistant superintendent, wrote the application for the grant funding.