By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
Christmas came early for Nicholas County Schools (NCS) Board President Chip Perrine. After receiving a letter from FEMA last week, he feels confident the board of education can finally move forward with a flood rebuild project they can afford.
Earlier this year, bids came in much higher than the available funding for the Richwood and Glade Creek projects. So Perrine had to go back to the drawing board.
“FEMA said you can’t get any more money,” Perrine said last week, “and you can’t change the location of the Glade Creek site.” But FEMA allowed the board to submit new proposals as to how they could spend that money to build new schools without going over budget.
Perrine described the three proposals they submitted in June.
Option 1 is to build a Prek-5th grade school to house Summersville, Birch River, and Glade Creek elementary schools in a new building at the Glade Creek site. It would also include a separate, new building for Summersville Middle School.
Option 2 is to build a new Summersville Middle School on the Glade Creek site.
Option 3 is to move Summersville Elementary to the current Nicholas County High School, build a new Summersville Middle and Nicholas County High School, and keep the Career and Technical Center in Craigsville.
In a letter to G.E. McCabe, Director of WV Division of Emergency Management, FEMA approved all three options as being viable.
“They said all of the proposals will meet their qualifications,” Perrine reports. “We do have to make some scope of work changes.”
The decision about how to proceed now rests with the Nicholas County Board of Education. According to Perrine, they will call a special meeting this week to vote on the options.
“The board will decide which of the proposals we want to go with,” says Perrine. “We’ll submit that to our lawyer and our architect, and they’ll come up with a scope of work change.”
Since the flood of 2016, students from Summersville Middle School, Richwood Middle School, and Richwood High School have been going to school in temporary pods. So Perrine, who was just elected to the board in 2022, says he is pleased that the process is moving.
“That’s where we are at,” he tells citizens. “It’s exciting.”
Both Richwood projects are under contract currently. Once the board makes a decision on the scope of the Glade Creek site, bids will be sought soon after. The board aims to move as expeditiously as possible.