ELKVIEW, WV – Surrounded by students, teachers, administrators, and Elk River community members, Gov. Jim Justice took part in a groundbreaking ceremony today to celebrate the start of site preparation for the new Herbert Hoover High School.
“Our schools truly are the heartbeat of our communities,” Gov. Justice said. “To be able to celebrate this major step toward the Elk River community getting their heartbeat back makes this day absolutely as good as it gets.
“It’s been a long road and the journey isn’t done yet. But this groundbreaking is a big milestone toward getting life back to normal. I’m incredibly happy for the entire Herbert Hoover High School family and everyone in the Elkview and Clendenin area.”
The ceremony was held in front of what will become the construction site of the new school, near Elkview in Kanawha County between Interstate 79 and U.S. Route 119.
The original Herbert Hoover High School was destroyed in the historic June 2016 floods that ravaged many parts of West Virginia. After one school year of sharing the Elkview Middle School building on a split schedule, a temporary campus of modular classrooms was built to house the high school’s students, teachers, and administrators – who have been there ever since.
Among those in attendance for today’s event were several members of the current senior class at Herbert Hoover – the first class that will have gone through their entire high school careers without ever setting foot in a permanent high school building of their own.
“What you’ve been through has been really tough,” Gov. Justice said. “I know that every single day that has gone by where we haven’t had a school in the process of being rebuilt is a day too many. But I also know just how hard everybody has worked to make this day happen.”
Lewis County-based Doss Enterprises began work moving dirt last month, after the Kanawha County Board of Education approved a $19.7 million bid for the contractor to complete the site preparation work, which will involve the movement of more than 3 million cubic yards of dirt, clearing several acres of heavily wooded land, relocating a stream, and building an access road to the school. Kanawha County Schools officials say they plan to have site preparations done by next fall so construction on the building itself can begin.
The new Herbert Hoover High School is currently on track to be completed and ready for students by fall 2022.
“You have experienced something that no one will ever forget – the contribution and sacrifice that you’ve made for your wonderful school is off the chart,” Gov. Justice said. “You have truly carried the torch for the Huskies in every way. God bless that this day is finally here.”