The almost two year battle over Nicholas County schools has finally come to a close.
It all started when three of the county schools were destroyed in June 2016 floods. Since then it’s been an all-out legal and community fight over how to reconfigure the district using federal disaster money. Wednesday the State Board of Education gave a final vote of approval to a new plan.
The plan includes a 6-12th grade school in Richwood, on the Cherry River Elementary School lot, and a 6-12th grade school in Summersville on the Glade Creek Industrial Park.
“That’s why this mediation plan is so good, everybody gets to retain their identity, they get to keep their school names, they get to keep their mascots,” Dr. Donna Burge-Tetrick said at the WV BOE meeting.
The career and technical school would be closed and moved to the Summersville campus. But vocational classes would be available in Richwood as well.
“I took the community schools concept to heart and I’m thinking outside the box and I’m trying to show some real world experience of what we can do to truly promote programs for our students and move them ahead,” Dr. Tetrick added.
Parents will get the opportunity to chose between the two new campuses, leaving room for future growth on both ends of the county.
“Whatever we build, to meet student choice, must be expandable. And I have plans for both sites, and they are expandable,” Dr. Tetrick explained.
Not everyone was happy with the plan, though many Richwood neighbors were relieved to hear their flooded schools will be replaced.
“If we fall back to bitterness and lack of communication, what measurers do we have to put in place to prevent having to go through this mediation process all over again? I don’t think anyone wants that,” Acting Richwood Mayor Chris Drennan said.
While there is still a divide in the county, education officials hope the healing process can begin, as the county unites around making the future brighter for all it’s students.
A late addition to the plan will also mean tearing down Summersville Elementary School and moving students into the current Nicholas County High School.