County helps with Homestead repairs

ELKINS — On the heels of electrical upgrades being completed at Homestead School, the non-profit organization who purchased the structure received more than $10,000 to assist in covering the costs.

The Tygart Valley Homestead Association, which took ownership of the former school in January and are working on repairs to turn it into a community center, received $11,200, to be taken from the county’s hotel/motel tax budget line, from the Randolph County Commission.

“We acquired the building in January of this past year, but so far we haven’t obtained the deed to the property. That’s forthcoming, I understand,” Alvin “Sonny” Knaggs, Tygart Valley Homestead Association founding member, historian and past president, said. “We had the electrical upgrade done locally, to satisfy the state fire marshal and we have gotten the approval. Also, Mr. (Gabe) Devono, Randolph County board of education superintendent, are wanting to use the facility again for the gym for the students of George Ward (Elementary).

“We were approached yesterday by the principal of Beverly Elementary, wanting to use it over Christmas break, so it’s much needed in the middle of the valley,” he continued. “We had Master Service do the job for us at the cost of $12,200, and we have since paid them $1,000.”

Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor said in the short time the Tygart Valley Homestead Association has owned the structure, it has overcome a big obstacle.

“You have gotten over a major hurdle by getting the fire marshal’s approval to occupy that building with the electrical upgrades,” he said. “I know that you all have worked hard on that — the committee and the folks up the valley have worked extremely hard to see that come to fruition.”

Knaggs noted the group has spent more than $20,000 of its own money over the past year and a half on different improvement projects at the facility.

He added the only thing stopping the Association from being able to have children in the building for functions is the air quality, something that was just tested again on Dec. 17 and once the results come back, should pass and allow it to be used.

“The air quality was the only issue at the present for kids to be back in,” Knaggs said. “We are starting to have activities and we have numerous inquiries about other uses for the building, so eventually we hope to be able to rent some of it to be able to pay utilities and insurance.”

Randolph County Commissioner Chris See said he is impressed with the work that has been done at the facility.

“Sounds like you guys have come a long way and are working hard at it,” See said.

Anyone interested in renting the building is urged to contact a member of the Tygart Valley Homestead Association.