By Jennifer Smith
The state School Building Authority approved final funding Thursday for a 10-year, five-school deal, in McDowell County.
In 2004, the SBA set aside $100-million as part of a long-term school system improvement plan with the federal government and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that went toward construction of much needed, new buildings.
“We built a new Riverview High School. We built a new Bradshaw Elementary, a new Southside Middle School, a new War Elementary and the fifth school is a new Iaeger Elementary,” explained SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin.
McDowell County was under state control at the time the deal was struck. One of the main concerns of the state Board of Education was the condition of McDowell County school buildings which were old and in some cases falling apart.
Manchin said by using the $100-million wisely they’ve been able to build four new schools and are ready to start construction on the Iaeger project next week.
Because 10 years have passed, the new Iaeger Elementary is going to cost a little bit more than they planned for in 2004.
“That simply reflects inflation as well as some additional square footage and some safety that we now require in every school built in the state of West Virginia,” according to Manchin.
That money was not taken out of the current SBA fund. Manchin said the members knew back in 2008 this last project was going to need a few million in extra cash, so they planned ahead.
“If there was any excess money left over from any of our projects when they expired, we simply captured that money, left it in the construction fund in anticipation of this day,” said Manchin.
Since 2008, the SBA has put aside $8 million in that fund. $7.05 million goes toward Iaeger Elementary.
Manchin stressed they made a commitment a decade ago to McDowell County and the SBA has now come through with that promise.