The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 25, 2007

Ground broken for new elementary school

Decked out in yellow hard hats and red T-shirts reading, “Our Dream Comes True,” Fairdale Elementary students stood ready to “break ground” for their new school Thursday morning.

Although rain forced the students’ celebration — complete with performances by the school choir and pre-K class — indoors, the spirit and excitement of Fairdale faculty and staff, parents, community members and county school officials were not dampened as the official ceremony continued outdoors.

“I may be a little wet and the hair may not be just right, but I’m glad I’m here and I know that you have waited a long, long time for this,” Raleigh County Schools Superintendent Charlotte Hutchens told the crowd. “In spite of the rain, it’s a good day. It’s a good day for Fairdale Elementary and it’s a good day for the Fairdale community.”

The $8.7 million facility will be constructed behind the existing school, which opened in 1950.

With additions, portable buildings, no air conditioning and a coal-fired furnace, assistant superintendent Janet Lilly said, the existing school is “probably the most outdated” in the county.

“The physical facility is just really outdated, but the upside is that we have really good staff here and wonderful kids and a wonderful community,” she said. “They deserve a new facility.”

Although site preparation has not begun, architect Dan Snead said, “weather permitting,” work could begin in early 2008 and a projected completion date of summer 2009 is very “doable and probable.”

Fairdale teacher and faculty senate chair Theresa Godbey said she and several other teachers have arranged their plans around that projected completion date.

“The staff is really excited about the new school,” she said. “Several of us are right now at the borderline on retirement, but we’re going to hold off until we get this new school to see what it’s like in a new building.”

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