Staff: Washington Irving Middle School needs a new building

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - For 106 years, Washington Irving Middle School's building has been giving Clarksburg students a place to learn and grow, but teachers say over time the building has started to crumble.

"We have mold issues, but I'm sure a lot of buildings in the county do too," said teacher Belen Hutson. "But ours keep reoccurring pretty frequently. We have pipes that are exposed and leaking to the point where we keep a bucket under them".

The school sits on a hill near the Harrison County Courthouse and has no outdoor space available for students to have classes, or to simply play outside. And with no outdoor space for students to play, or teachers to even park, they have to limit their activities.

"Parking is difficult. And some of our faculty members are getting older. We have further to walk. The terrain we have to walk across on parts of it to even get into our building when the weather is snowy is just bad."

Another big issue: the neighborhood surrounding the school. When having class, Hutson can't even open her classroom windows to let some air in.

"We have the neighborhood language and neighbors outside. Sometimes it's not the best thing for our students to hear going on in the classroom, so we keep my windows closed."

Monday night, teachers with the new school committee presented to the Board of Education why they desperately need a new school building, and should be at the top of the comprehensive education facilities plan, which awards new school buildings.

"We really would like to be on that list, and at the top of it if we could, to receive those new facilities," said Principal Susan Ferrell.

There is no word yet on if Washington Irving will make the top of list, or when a new school could become a reality, but teachers there say a new school building isn't about them. It's about providing students with a safe place to go.