UPDATE: WV State Board of Education votes unanimously to pass Harrison County consolidation proposal

By  | 

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) -- UPDATE: 10/9/2019 06:00p.m.
The West Virginia State Board of Education held its monthly board meeting Wednesday in the Robinson Grand Theater in Clarksburg. A vote to move forward with the consolidation of two Harrison County Elementary schools was in the middle of the day's agenda.

Harrison County Board of Education could vote on the consolidation of Adamston and Wilsonburg Elementary Schools at Tuesday night's meeting.

Harrison County Superintendent Mark Manchin presented the proposal to the board.

"It's a requirement of the state board that they take action. Ultimately, our local board has already taken action. State board will hopefully take that same action," said Manchin before the vote.

Manchin fielded questions from board members and stated the reason Union High School was chosen was because the school holds a population of around 100 students, and that its building was being underutilized.

The consolidation will have students from Adamston Elementary and Wilsonburg Elementary join together into what will be called Gore Elementary school.

That school will be moved to Union High School's building and Union High School will move into Adamston Elementary's current building.

Some parents say this move is frivolous.

"I have a lot of concerns about the consolidation. Mainly, just that, we have a really great school, from Principal all the way down to the custodians everybody in-between is top notch. I am afraid that moving them far away from our neighborhood will have negative implications to all of our kids," said Bethany Cutright, a parent of an Adamston student.

UPDATE: 10/1/2019 11:30p.m.
Board members voted unanimously to consolidate the Wilsonburg Elementary School and the Adamston Elementary School.

"The next step would be... now we're going to sit tight. The project has been submitted, all the necessary paperwork has been completed now with the act of the board tonight. So now the only thing left is to get funded," said Harrison County School Superintendent

Harrison County Board of Education will know in December if this project will get funding. The Superintendent says if funding is granted construction will start next summer. Dr. Manchin says they envision construction will take about a year.

Listed on Tuesday’s agenda for the Harrison County Board of Education meeting is a topic that's been discussed for more than a year. The possible move to consolidate Adamston and Wilsonburg Elementary Schools.

"This is the same project that we submitted last year. We had the closing hearings and now we've resubmitted that project in anticipated of hopefully getting funded," said Dr. Mark Manchin the Harrison County Schools Superintendent.

Dr. Manchin says last year they didn't get the funds to follow through with the project. With high hopes this year, he says the main reason to merge is to keep moving education forward.

"In today's 21st century education, with the necessity of technology, these older buildings cannot provide the same quality."

Dr. Manchin says the building Adamston is currently in is more than 100 years old. The infrastructure at Wilsonburg' is also insufficient.

The memories is something that parent, Bethany Cutright says would be sad to leave, but she also says she sees the benefit with the merger.

"I do love our small school and everything that it has represented and stood for. I do think that consolidation is probably a necessity for the greater good of all Harrison County Schools," said Cutright.

If the funding is approved, the students in the two schools would be moved to United High School, which would be renovated. It’s a school that Dr. Manchin says is currently under utilized.

"We have a number of students at United High School, but it's capable of well over 500 and we have less than 100 there."

Next week, the state board of education will be coming to Harrison County. After the local board takes action tonight, the state will then take a vote.

"My biggest concern is that the same attention goes into modifying that school, so that it's an adequate facility," said Cutright.

"This is for your children, this is for the future," said Dr. Manchin.

If they get the funds, Dr. Manchin says there will be a 3 month planning period that would likely go from March to May. Construction would take place in the summer and students would move into the new school in 2020.