By Kyle Lovern
The West Virginia School Building Authority on Monday awarded $8.6 million to the Mingo County school system.
The money will be used to renovate the former Burch High School, which now houses Burch Middle School.
The plan calls for the merger of the current Delbarton Elementary School with the Burch Middle School facility, according to Superintendent of Schools Randy Keathley.
Keathley had asked the SBA for $9 million.
“I’m very excited that the SBA funded our Burch Middle School merger project,” Keathley said from his office Tuesday morning. “This will make a Burch Pre-K through eighth grade.”
“This will afford our students the opportunity to learn and it will increase their education prospects in a safe facility and environment,” Keathley added.
The project will add 21 classrooms to the former Burch High School building. It also will reconfigure some of the existing space to accommodate the middle school with such classrooms as art, math and science. The library will be moved from the second floor to the lower level.
The old annex building at the vocational school will be demolished to make more room for the construction.
This also will eliminate the old, antiquated Delbarton Elementary School, which is located north of the town along State Road 65.
This is the fourth time Keathley had asked for the funding. The county will get the money in July.
Once funding is in place, Keathley said, bids can be taken for the construction. He anticipates that construction will begin next spring, with the design phase to come first.
“The construction project will last approximately two years,” Keathley said.
“The citizens and students of the Delbarton area are so deserving of this project,” Keathley said. “This is great for Mingo County schools. I am so excited that this project will finally be coming to fruition.”
Kyle Lovern is sports editor of the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33, or on Twitter @KyleLovern.