Homestead Elementary transferred to local group

ELKINS — The Randolph County Board of Education voted Tuesday to transfer ownership of Homestead Elementary School to an area group that plans to utilize the facility as a center for the community.

The Tygart Valley Homestead Association gained ownership of the school and its 17 acre tract following the board’s vote.

Homestead Association president Tom Rennix said the group hopes to have something to offer for everyone.

“We want to have programs there for elderly people, we want to have programs there for school children — even possibly an after school program for kids,” he said.

He added the Preservation Alliance is working to create a questionnaire to release to the public to gather input from residents about what they would like to see happen at Homestead.

Before the board’s vote, members raised a number of questions including the possibility of the gymnasium at the school being utilized and the parking of buses on the property.

“We’ll likely enter into a lease situation with them so that the gym can be used for Tygart Valley Middle School girls basketball as of right now, and if they need it for other children’s programs – not even for sporting events; if they need to possibly make arrangements for other purposes, we can work with them on that,” Rennix said. “Most of the buses are diesel now, so there is an electrical station there where the buses have cables they plug into their engines for heaters. So, we’ll enter into a lease situation with them so they can park their buses there and use the electricity.”

Before its closure, the school in Dailey was the last functional facility of the 99 schools that were built in the United States under the direction of Eleanor Roosevelt. The school was important in the initial resettlement plans to relieve families in rural West Virginia during the Great Depression The Tygart Valley Homestead was part of the Roosevelt Administration’s First Hundred Days legislation and was the third and largest successful resettlement program in the state. For many years the Homestead School served students in the communities of Dailey, East Dailey and Valley Bend.

The school was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and was added to the West Virginia Endangered Properties List in 2016.

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