Projects around Harman built to mitigate future flooding

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) -- After a summer of devastating flooding and damage, students of Harman School are preparing to return to school Thursday.

Harman School is back in session on Thursday, August 15.

One of the projects that is set to be underway is an expansion of the levee that protected Harman School from the flooding over the summer.

"It did its job during the flood, we did take in some water in some of these classrooms, but if it wasn't for the small little levee here, then it would have been far worse," said Laura Hawkins, Harman School Principal.

The levee sits along the parking lot of the school.

"They are going to run the levee the full length until it hits the stream (...) right now I think it is about three feet and they are going to build it up to about five feet," said Hawkins.

The construction is expected later this week, but it is not the only work being done around the school.

The West Virginia Conservation Agency is currently at work behind the school to expand the river that flows near Harman.

"We are trying to open the channel back up. We're giving it the proper capacity. Removing any woody or sediment blockages along the way," said Dustin Coles, an employee of the West Virginia Conservation Agency.

The project has been ongoing since July and has been one of the many state-run efforts to avoid flooding in the future.

"I am not sure where it was before. But I am pretty sure it was too narrow. Going off of our dimensions, the stream must be about 28 feet, so we are trying to stick as close to that as we can and then we are also trying to establish bank-wall benches to try and give it more capacity if it goes over the bank-wall height," said Coles.

Between these two projects, Principal Laura Hawkins believes that Harman School can look forward to dry summers for years to come.

"I don't think water will pose a threat to our school again," said Hawkins.