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New Stratton Elementary School Close to Finish, Others in W.Va. County Progressing

Tue January 17, 2023 - Northeast Edition
Beckley Register-Herald


David Ferguson, with ZMM Architects & Engineering in Charleston, reported that Stratton should finish work the week of June 12 and be ready in time for the start of the 2023-24 school year.(Rendering courtesy of ZMM Architects & Engineering)
David Ferguson, with ZMM Architects & Engineering in Charleston, reported that Stratton should finish work the week of June 12 and be ready in time for the start of the 2023-24 school year.(Rendering courtesy of ZMM Architects & Engineering)

After experiencing weather delays and supply chain shortages, construction of the new Stratton Elementary School in Beckley, W. Va., will be complete in the next six months, its architect told the Raleigh County School Board of Education meeting Jan. 10.

During an update on school construction projects at two elementary schools and a middle school in the county, David Ferguson, with ZMM Architects & Engineering in Charleston, reported that Stratton, one of the county's most anticipated building projects, should finish work the week of June 12 and be ready in time for the start of the 2023-24 school year.

Once the new elementary school is complete, the demolition of the current Stratton Elementary, located in front of the new building, will begin.

Ferguson added that brick and limestone from the old building, which holds great historical significance to the community and the state as the structure once served as the first all-Black high school in Raleigh County, is currently being removed so that the materials can be preserved within a tribute space in the new school near the gymnasium. Memorabilia from former students also will go on display in the space.

Additionally, plans call for a mural to be painted by former Stratton students for the new facility, and will include painted tiles, each four-in.-square, for placement in the school's new cafeteria.

Construction of the new Stratton Elementary began in mid-2021, with a cost estimate of $20 million.

Progress Made on Other Beckley Schools

The construction to expand and renovate Shady Spring Elementary School by Paramount Builders in St. Albans, W. Va., began in early December, the Beckley Register-Herald reported.

Randy Jones with ZMM Architects said building crews are working to clear the area on either side of the school — areas which had been parking lots — to make way for a new gymnasium on the left side of the building and an expanded kitchen on the opposite side.

"The building footprint is nearly to grade and we're actually installing foundations, so those will be going in here very, very soon," he explained. "Very soon, probably within the next month, we should start seeing concrete blocks come up out of the ground and then we should really start seeing some good progress, weather permitting, with the rest of the projects."

Six additional classrooms also are under construction in the space behind the Shady Spring gymnasium.

A new parking area is in the works on land that was the former playground. Prior to digging up the area for the parking lot, Jones said all the playground equipment was removed, and what was still useable was relocated to another county elementary school.

The entire $14.5 million project should take about 16 months, he told the Beckley news source.

Park Middle School

ZMM's Ferguson said the $9.5 million in construction work planned for Park Middle will go out to bid later in January, following approval from the West Virginia School Building Authority (WVSBA).

In 2022, WVSBA approved a $1 million grant for Raleigh County Schools for the demolition and construction of a new gymnasium for the middle school. Its old gym closed at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year due to structural problems.

Plans for Park Middle also will include renovation of the second floor for a career technical education (CTE) lab, the Register-Herald learned.




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