Preparing for Temporary Schools…

Preparing for Temporary Schools…

RICHWOOD — Land made available for public use by the owner of Richwood’s Watergate Inn, following talks with Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber, could help ensure that Richwood’s middle school students remain in town until a new school is built, rather than be relocated to a site outside the community.450px-richwood-watergate-rebuild

Land already has been cleared for the lot, and a liner and crushed rocks were being put in place on Thursday, September 22, 2016, following an agreement with Andreas Karas, owner of the long-shuttered inn, damaged by floods in June and in years past, and scheduled for eventual demolition, Baber said. Work is being done by United Coal Co., which has donated at least $50,000 in labor, according to the mayor.

Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School were deemed unfit for use by Federal Emergency Management Administration officials after the buildings were battered and deluged by floodwaters that swept through the Nicholas County town in late June. Richwood High School students temporarily have relocated to the former Beaver Elementary School near Craigsville, while the middle school students have been sharing space with students at Richwood’s Cherry River Elementary School, which was not damaged in the flooding.

By developing a second parking lot at the lower end of the school, the existing parking lot, which lies above the floodplain, can be used to locate temporary pods for additional teaching space to reduce crowding within the middle school building. The added parking area also would eliminate concerns about a shortage of parking space, now that teachers and staff from two schools are sharing the existing lot, and include a loop road for buses to access the school.

During the last Nicholas County School Board meeting, Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick said the lack of adequate parking at Cherry River Elementary could result in Richwood Middle School being relocated in modular classrooms at Craigsville, according to the Nicholas Chronicle.

So far, FEMA has turned down proposals to build a new Richwood High School on the grounds of the former Richwood Area Community Hospital, and vetoed a pair of other prospective sites.

Last week, the Legislature approved an $85 million appropriation for matching funds to capture FEMA flood recovery grants totaling an estimated $339 million. Of that sum, flood-ruined Richwood High School, Richwood Middle School, Summersville Middle School, Clendenin Elementary School and Herbert Hoover High School would be allocated a total of about $130 million to rebuild.

In other flood recovery developments, Baber said the town’s Rite-Aid and Dollar General stores should reopen by the end of next month, and that all of the town’s flood-damaged sewer mains that once ran along the bottom of the Cherry River, have been patched and temporarily relocated under shore rocks along a bank of the stream. The repairs dramatically decreased the flow of river water entering the pipes and needlessly passing through the town’s treatment plant, making it more difficult to process sewage.

The town still lacks a supermarket, and the town’s emergency pantry is nearly empty, Baber said.

This article is reprinted by permission of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and

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