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Roane County to build new Spencer Middle School

Roane County was the only district to make the cut in WSAZ's region. They now have nearly $14...
Roane County was the only district to make the cut in WSAZ's region. They now have nearly $14 million dollars toward a brand new Spencer Middle School.(chaelesse delpleche)
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 3:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The School Building Authority on Monday approved the funding of seven school building renovations in West Virginia.

Roane County is among the counties approved for funding. The county was approved for nearly $14 million going toward a brand new Spencer Middle School.

Superintendent Richard Duncan says it was the third request for the funding. The new middle school will be built on property already owned by the county right next to the high school.

On the WSAZ Now Desk Monday night Duncan said that much of the current middle school was built in the 1940′s, with some additions made in the 70′s. The school is not properly wired for the technology of today.

Duncan said they weighed the option of renovating the current school or building an entirely new school this option made more sense .

The hope is that construction on the new SMS will begin this fall with a completion date in time for the 2023-24 school year.

Once the current middle school is empty it will be used for offices. The gym and auditorium will be used by the community.

Funding was denied Monday for Kanawha County’s Cedar Grove Community School renovation project, and Cabell County’s Meadows Elementary project.

Spokespeople for both Cabell & Kanawha counties say that they will resubmit plans for funding later this year.

Other counties that got the green light for funding were Mercer, Jefferson, Greenbrier, Mineral, Ohio, and Summers.

Twenty-nine county superintendents from across the state made requests for building renovations last month. To get the millions of dollars that were requested, architects with the SBA have to evaluate the properties. Each site has to meet criteria set by lawmakers, which are broken up into 10 categories.

After a thorough inspection, architects make their recommendations to the board, singling out the best projects for funding. The SBA has to approve the recommendations before the money is distributed.

Officials say making this decision was a tough call. The SBA only had $75 million to give out, and the requests totaled out to more than $206 million.

“The ones that were funded were the best of the best, every project has a ton of merit, every project is the number one project in that county,” said Ben Ashley, director of Architectural Services.

If a district didn’t make the cut, Ashley said they can re-apply in December. He says the SBA will likely have another $75 million to give away at that time. There was $200,000 left over; Ashley says the surplus will go toward December’s funding.

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