Randolph County Schools plan upgrades to Harman levee

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HARMAN, W.Va. – The little bump on a field outside the Harman School in Randolph County may not look like much, but it’s a big reason the school wasn’t more heavily damaged in floods a month and a half ago.

Heavy rains caused flooding around the region in late June, washing out roads and damaging homes all around the area. And despite the presence of a levee built after flooding in 1985, water and muck still made it into the school, undoing a lot of careful work by school staff.

“It looked like a war zone outside here in our playground, so it was a little bit devastating, and to see the school where my custodian Terry Kerns work so hard and see a clean school covered in mud and water was hard to take,” said Harman School Principal Laura Hawkins.

Although water made it around the levee, it greatly reduced the amount of damage the school received. Now, county school officials in Elkins are working to upgrade the levee to keep water out in case the area floods again.

“Still too early to say at this time. I would like to have it done prior to Thanksgiving, and I think that’s a very, very easy and safe timeline to go by that that levee should be completed,” said Randolph County Assistant Superintendent Joseph Arbogast.

The changes will add two feet to the height of the levee, and extend it out to where the water is directed back into the nearby creek. Hawkins is looking forward to the improvements, and is glad to have had the protection it already provided.

“We would have accrued far more damage if it wasn’t for this little levee, and I think by making it a little bit larger and extending it to the stream that we won’t have to worry about water again here at Harman School,” said Hawkins.

Thanks to hard work from volunteers and school staff, the Harman School will be ready to open on Thursday August 15th, along with the rest of the schools in Randolph County.

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