SBA awards $5.4 million for projects

Beverly and George Ward to receive new classrooms

ELKINS — The West Virginia School Building Authority awarded Randolph County Schools with $5.4 million in funding this week that will benefit two elementary schools.

To better accommodate the additional students in Beverly Elementary and George Ward Elementary schools because of the closures of Valley Head Elementary and Homestead Elementary schools, funding will be used for additional classrooms at each school.

In November, Randolph County school officials originally requested SBA funds in the amount of $6.7 million, according to Randolph County Board of Education President Donna Auvil.

Gabriel J. “Gabe” Devono, Randolph County superintendent of schools, and Debra Schmidlen, assistant superintendent of schools, traveled to Charleston with Auvil on Nov. 14 to make a formal, needs-based funding request to the state SBA. Auvil said they asked for $6.7 million in funding at that time.

“They were really receptive, but they only had, I think, $50 million, and there were $100 million requests from several counties in the state,” she said in a phone interview Monday.

Auvil said Devono and Schmidlen went over the county’s project to resubmit a project proposal, asking the SBA for $5.4 million to complete the projects at Beverly and George Ward. That updated proposal was granted Monday.

As a result, Auvil said two classrooms will be added at Beverly and four will be added at George Ward. In addition, she said funding will also be used at Beverly for other projects.

“At Beverly school, the funding will be used for a new kitchen, a new cafeteria, two additional classrooms and air conditioning for the school,” Auvil said. “If you’re looking at Beverly School, to the left of it, we bought the property owned by Joyce Pritt — when Sue Hinzman was superintendent — that will be where the work will be done.”

With the addition of the cafeteria and kitchen, the gymnasium at the school will function solely as a gymnasium, rather than a gym/cafeteria.

Auvil said she believes classroom construction at George Ward will take place to the left of the school.

A date for the beginning of construction has not yet been established for either location.

She added air conditioning will be installed at both Beverly and George Ward, in addition to upgrades to the heating at Beverly.

“Mr. Devono and Debbie have worked tirelessly on this,” Auvil added. “They really worked hard to try to get this funding.”