The future of The Marlinton Elementary School is uncertain. Any aging structure eventually develops certain problems that demands repair or replacement. Other violations noted during an inspection by the State Fire Marshal’s Office could potentially close it until corrected. The State Building Authority has stated it will not fund projects in a floodplain. Pocahontas County Schools Superintendent Beam has said it will require a community effort for the school to remain in its present location.
As a “what-if” exercise, to qualify for SBA funding, three potential locations within the city limits have been discussed, without any actual follow-up. The fact of the matter is, each of these potential locations, requires a move and are not good options.
Look at what has happened with the decision to move the board office. Secluded away in the woods was a prime location for a club-bar, but the BOE office leaving our town and moving to such a secluded location, needed more community involvement.
Everyone involved must understand we are not talking about buildings. We are talking about community.
The present location has everything we need. The issues are the violations and floodplain. Where can we go to remove risk and common maintenance?
So, what are we as a community going to do about it?
The Levy failing to pass did not mean we don’t care. It simply means we were not ready to abandon the present location before considering every option. To me, the questions are:
#1. What are the most pressing violations and/or health issues (if any)?
#2. What are the estimates for repairs?
Then, depending on those figures, we can make an informed decision on
#3. What else is on the school’s wish-list? Is it new electrical, A/C, or something else?
Superintendent Beam invited me to attend a meeting with the SBA in Charleston February 22. However, the meeting has been canceled due to a proposed teachers walk-out.
Moving away from the present location is not an appropriate solution. None of us can move far enough to eliminate risks and maintenance.
Hopefully, we can share more thoughts next week.