Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FLOOD-DESTROYED KANAWHA SCHOOLS ; FEMA Questions Plan of Portable Classroom Use; Students from Clendenin, Hoover Now Attend Bridge, Elkview Schools

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FLOOD-DESTROYED KANAWHA SCHOOLS ; FEMA Questions Plan of Portable Classroom Use; Students from Clendenin, Hoover Now Attend Bridge, Elkview Schools

Article excerpt

Bridge Elementary and Elkview Middle schools, each with extra students enrolled from flood-destroyed Clendenin Elementary and Herbert Hoover High, might never see the portable classrooms that Kanawha schools officials had planned to use. The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked Kanawha County Schools last week to consider alternatives to portable classrooms because of how expensive it would be to use the units for such an extended time while replacement schools are built, according to Charles Wilson, the Kanawha County school system's executive director of facilities planning.

Wilson said the cost of using portables would top $12 million.

He added that no situation is being overlooked, including one scenario where the county would bus students to different schools until Clendenin and Hoover schools can be built.

Wilson said FEMA, the state's School Building Authority and the school system are committed to building new schools and that FEMA's request only relates to where students will go to school until new facilities can be built.

Originally, Kanawha Superintendent Ron Duerring said it would take between 30 and 40 days for portable classrooms to be brought to Bridge Elementary and up to 100 days for them to be brought to Elkview Middle.

"This is going to take considerably more time, Wilson said of finding and executing an alternative plan. "I don't have a timeline on that, currently. We've talked to the schools, and they know that it's going to take more time. We're looking at measures that might ease the current issues until FEMA and the state have approved alternative options, or decided to go with the bid [portable classroom] option.

FEMA has not said it won't pay for the portable classroom units, only that it wants the school system to consider other options that might be more cost-effective, according to Wilson.

"That's what you want from FEMA, said Ben Ashley, an assistant director of school planning and construction for the SBA. …

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