Potential plans announced for new Clendenin Elementary and Herbert Hoover High School

Residents gather Wednesday night at a public meeting in Clendenin Wednesday night to talk about rebuilding Clendenin Elementary and Herbert Hoover High School. (WCHS/WVAH)

Kanawha County school administrators said at a public meeting in Clendenin Wednesday night that the tentative site for rebuilding Herbert Hoover High School is in Elkview. The tentative site for Clendenin Elementary is just outside the current town limits of Clendenin.

The future location of the high school and the timeline of construction raised the most questions from the crowd. While the Kanawha County school board does have plans for both, nothing is set in stone until the land is purchased.

Superintendent Ron Duerring kicked off the meeting with some good news. The attorney general has given the School Building Authority the green light to front the $5 million to buy the land for the schools. Contracts have been signed to start designing the schools, but there are some hurdles to jump over before that can happen.

There are still environmental studies that must be done on both properties to determine if they are suitable for the schools. Board members also announced plans to build Clendenin Elementary on Wolverton Mountain Road and Herbert Hoover High School on Given Fork.

With the tentative location for Herbert Hoover High School planned for Elkview, not Clendenin, some were concerned with what the socioeconomic impact on the town would be if the school is moved farther away.

"The minute you say you're going to build that school in Elkview, we're going to lose about $2 million in investments, 50 jobs and a lot of money that's going to come into the town with B&O taxes," Susan Jack said. "Property values are going to continue to be low in Clendenin."

The answer to her question was no. There has not been a socioeconomic study done on Clendenin to consider those negative impacts.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency representative did say that a study will be done in the near future. The process for choosing the locations in Elkview was explained, and the director of facilities did say that if either plan falls through, there are about 20 other sites they would consider.

As for the school's facilities, Clendenin Elementary would be about 67,000 square feet and include a stem lab. The high school would be 181,000 square feet plus sporting facilities and would provide innovative learning programs for the students.

Duerring said administrators are "fighting every minute to make sure that we get everything these kids deserve in their school so that when they enter their brand new schools they'll be proud of the school environment they're going to be in, the innovative programs that they're going to have within that school."

If the process goes according to the school board's plan, Clendenin Elementary would be completed by late 2020 and the high school in early to middle 2021.

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