New school slated to open in Arnoldsburg

ARNOLDSBURG – Students at Arnoldsburg Elementary School will get an extra Christmas present of sorts with a new school.

Roger Propst, superintendent of Calhoun County Schools, said the new school is slated to open when students return to school in January 2014.

Propst said the new school will replace the county’s oldest school building. In the past 20 years, he said, the school has been flooded five times.

“Our problem is it’s a 1950s construction, much older than our other schools, that has been flooded five times in the past 20 years,” he said. “It’s never been deep, but it’s enough to make it the worst facility in the county.”

The county’s middle school/high school is 15 years old and Pleasant Hill Elementary dates back to the 1980s.

In 2011, Calhoun County voters approved a new school bond.

“Fortunately the bonds for the middle school/high school were paid off,” he said. “That new bond of $3,560,000 passed with a 67 percent margin and it will include $800,000 for air conditioning in the middle school/high school.”

Propst said no time was wasted in approaching the West Virginia School Building Authority for matching funds.

“We had the bond passed on a Friday and I went to the SBA with a presentation on Monday,” he said. “They provided us with $5,560,000 for the new building. We got started on site preparation last fall and construction began in the spring.”

The new building will be within 1,000 feet of the old building and will be 12 feet above flood stage.

The school will be built to accommodate 218 to 230 pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students and will include a health and dental clinic for students funded in part by a Minnie Hamilton Health Systems grant.

The gymnasium was adjusted after a teacher’s suggestion, Propst said.

“When the music teacher saw the plans she suggested the music room be moved to where it would be next to the gym with an opening from the gym to use it like a stage,” he said. “Arnoldsburg is known for its Christmas program and other events; they are the epitome of a community school.”

Like the current school, he said, it will have two classrooms for each grade plus rooms for special education and resource rooms for screenings and other needs not found in the old building.

Polished concrete floors instead of tile or vinyl floors will be added. Despite higher initial costs, it will save money over the life of the school.

Despite a shiny appearance, the floors will not be a slippage hazard. He said a different flooring material will be used for the kitchen and restrooms.

“We had extra money to use the latest idea in school construction,” Propst said. “We will not have to strip and wax the floors. Our maintenance people will only need to use water.”

Arnoldsburg Elementary will have a media center and computer lab with desktop computers, replacing the current mobile lab with laptop computers.

Each classroom will be built to accommodate electronic devices such as whiteboards. There will be one grassy and two blacktop playground areas.

“The folks of this area have waited a long time for this,” Propst said. “It was their turn and we are proud of it; it’s a beautiful facility.”