Gov. Jim Justice joined Raleigh County school leaders, State Board of Education members, and several other local officials gathered at the old Stratton Elementary School on Thursday for a ceremony to announce that a new Stratton Elementary School is officially in-line for construction now that funding in the amount of $8.9 million has been released by the West Virginia School Building Authority.
“It is absolutely a great day in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said at the gathering. “There’s so much goodness right here in this great community of Beckley, it’s unbelievable, and so, I congratulate you in every way.”
The new school, estimated to cost between $16 and $17 million, will be built at the site of the current Stratton Elementary’s athletic field at the same location on South Fayette Street.
Stratton Elementary was originally recommended for a funding award during the SBA’s 2019 funding cycle.
As reported by The Register-Herald on July 15, the long-awaited new facility, which Price said is a partnership between Raleigh Schools and the state School Buildings Authority (SBA), will be constructed behind the existing Stratton Elementary.
Architectural plans show a rounded entrance, glass panels and an emblem bearing the Bulldog mascot.
The new Stratton Elementary will offer a full-sized gymnasium, a cafeteria, geothermal heating and cooling and classrooms that are designed to support students who have special needs.
The current building, which was originally built as the segregated Stratton High School for Black school children, will be demolished and turned into a campus that offers green space and parking.
The historic importance of the existing Stratton building will be incorporated into the character of the new facility.
“We will be using some of the features of that building within the new building,” Price said in the July 15 article. “Some of the stone, they’ll be able to salvage, and some of the brick that will be part of the new building.
“It incorporates the history and the heritage.”
School district officials believed the SBA funds would not be released until after its Sept. 14 meeting.
The project will be put out to bid now that the funds have been released.
Initially, the SBA meeting was to happen in March but schools were shut down two days before response to the threat of Covid-19.
“If that would have happened in March, (construction) would’ve probably been a year from this August (2020),” Price told The Register-Herald for its July 15 story. “But now, it might get pushed back a year.”
Stratton Elementary serves children who are in pre-school through grade five in Ward V, the city’s most racially diverse ward.