RICHWOOD — Early aftermost month, Nicholas Canton and accompaniment apprenticeship leaders, who already fought anniversary added in cloister over how fair Nicholas was actuality to its Richwood community, conveyed their post-mediation accord and calm bidding acknowledgment in accumulation an accepted $159.8 actor in federal dollars to clean Nicholas’ flood-damaged schools.
The accompaniment Lath of Apprenticeship and Gov. Jim Justice, who appointed the majority of its members, had gotten the Nicholas Lath of Apprenticeship to carelessness its plan to use over $100 actor in accepted accretion funds from the June 2016 flood to alone clean a Summersville.
The accompaniment academy lath accomplished Justice’s achievement and prayer, as he put it in his aboriginal Accompaniment of the Accompaniment Address, “that we end up with a academy in Richwood.” Nicholas schools Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick said “once we got aggregate aired out in the arbitration acceding anybody came together,” and she couldn’t say abundant about added accompaniment agencies’ help.
But some articulate Richwood backers’ desires aren’t fulfilled, and the currently planned account for the academy they’re accepting is about a fifth of the account for the one still actuality planned to be congenital a Summersville, application flood accretion funds and on the aforementioned acreage the absolutely circumscribed academy was planned for.
Yes, the Nicholas academy lath now affairs for a academy — aloof one — in Richwood: Cherry River Elementary, the distinct Richwood academy not burst afterwards the flood, is to be adapted and broadcast to lath the Richwood average and aerial academy acceptance whose schools were destroyed.
The accepted “conceptual budget” says alone $30 actor of the absolute $177.5 actor in planned federal and accompaniment rebuilding dollars will go to the Richwood school, while $125.8 actor is to go to the academy a Summersville.
When asked why there’s a $21.7 actor gap amid the conceptual account for both schools and the abounding $177.5 actor in planned dollars, Burge-Tetrick at aboriginal mentioned assorted accessible costs not apparent in the conceptual budget, including the achievability of accepting to install a catchbasin arrangement to serve the Richwood school.
But in a afterwards interview, she said she abstruse from Charleston-based ZMM Architects & Engineers that the $21.7 actor is absolutely activity adjoin installing added abstruse apprenticeship programs than originally advancing at the academy a Summersville. So that school’s accepted account is about $147.5 million.
As of aftermost month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the activity still hadn’t been assuredly approved.
Burge-Tetrick said negotiations over the absolute $177.5 actor “fixed estimate” bulk are done, and she thinks the money alone hasn’t been appear because they’re still apprehension ecology studies of the two planned academy sites. She estimated they’ll booty about 6 months to appear back.
She said “we’re not abiding how abundant it’s activity to cost” to acquire either armpit “build-ready,” admitting the federal government not accoutrement abrupt costs above the $177.5 actor “fixed estimate.”
She said the planned academy sizes are based on acceptance estimated through surveys that ZMM did. She said she didn’t handle the surveys “because I feel that if I did some association in the Richwood breadth would say it was not a fair assessment.”
The Richwood academy is currently projected to acquire 750 acceptance in all grades, while Burge-Tetrick has said the bump for the Summersville-area academy is about bifold that.
David Ferguson, an artist and arch at ZMM, said the appraisal of approaching Richwood aerial schoolers was bent by the cardinal of accepted acceptance at Richwood Middle. He said the cardinal of approaching average schoolers was projected through counting accepted Cherry River Elementary acceptance additional calling all ascent fourth graders at two added elementaries, Gauley River and Panther Creek, that augment into the Richwood schools to see which academy the acceptance planned to appear in the future.
“Since there’s accessible borders it’s adamantine to acquaint how that’s activity to assignment anyway,” Ferguson said.
The Nicholas lath is eliminating the geographic distinctions for who attends which average academy or aerial school. Burge-Tetrick has said the canton will accommodate any citizen apprentice busline to go to either new school, additional will bus Richwood academy acceptance to the Summersville-area academy if they ambition to booty abstruse classes there.
She said the ZMM acceptance projections were done afterwards acceptance were fabricated acquainted of this aishment of appearance zones.
She said added projections will be done in “phase 2” of construction, and if they appearance a citizenry about-face the Richwood academy will abound at the amount of the Summersville-area school’s account — but said the Richwood academy won’t compress alike if those new surveys activity alike lower acceptance for Richwood.
Ferguson said that by the end of December, they’ll apparently acquire a added solid attic plan “and again the budgets will be realinged.”
A boondocks in decline?
Richwood, which the 2010 U.S. Census said had 2,051 association afore the flood, seems like a actual small, commutual community.
Around 1:30 p.m. aftermost Tuesday in the Whistle Punk Taphouse & Grill sat above Richwood burghal ambassador and bounded ambassador Chuck Toussieng. Later, Ellen Johnson, a Whistle Punk agent and babe of above Nicholas adjudicator and accompaniment Supreme Cloister ambassador Gary Johnson, sat bottomward at a table.
On the drive into the city, breadth two Confederate flags afraid out from the advanced of houses on the coast into downtown, Main Street had assorted abandoned or blurred storefronts and an all-embracing alone look. There’s a fallout apartment assurance on the Post Office building, and afterwards in the afternoon, about 4 p.m., a man on horseback rode bottomward Main Street.
But central Whistle Punk, which opened in June, the architecture and card battling hipster restaurants in beyond cities. There’s a date for bands, there’s the guided painting-while-drinking sessions apparent elsewhere, and you can buy beers from Fayette and Greenbrier counties and Cherry River Roasting Company coffee from beans broiled in Toussieng’s Richwood Scientific building, aloof on the added ancillary of a mural-decorated “sculpture garden” alfresco space.
Toussieng, as he spent time charwoman up from and planning acquaint for a 4-H Lego robotics team, batten of affairs to use $300,000 in admission allotment to authorize bounded internet account provider and internet cilia basement adjustment and accession companies or nonprofits. He additionally discussed a advancing cogent bike aisle amplification and affairs to adjust a distinct architecture on Main Street to abode hydroponic gardens, a 40-seat cine theater, retail space, technology amplitude and four attic apartments “that you’d pay a brace actor dollars for in New York.”
He additionally said he begin a admired letterpress abaft a bank in his building, which acclimated to book the News Leader and the internationally accepted West Virginia Hillbilly, and affairs to absorb that and its drawers of blazon into some affectionate of makerspace. All this planned for a burghal smacked by the 2016 flood.
“It’s abashing the way they’re activity to advance anybody into the aforementioned area,” said Whistle Punk chef Julie Taylor, who’s additionally a acting teacher’s aide, apropos the Richwood academy plans.
“We still won,” said server Amy Hinkle, who has a babe at Richwood High. “We’re still in Richwood.”
The breach amid the accepted budgets for the schools echoes a complaint Richwood supporters fabricated adjoin the Nicholas board’s scrapped abounding alliance plan: Our association absent two schools [Richwood Average and Richwood High], Summersville absent one [Summersville Middle], but the FEMA academy rebuilding dollars are mostly activity to cascade into Summersville.
Burge-Tetrick said that because Richwood Aerial already had over 1,000 acceptance in the 1960s, Nicholas was acceptable to acquire rebuilding money for a academy that admeasurement — alike admitting the academy now, operating in acting abode at the above Beaver Elementary alfresco the city, has beneath than 400 students. She said about two-thirds of the absolute federal dollars ahead accepted for Nicholas were due to the above Richwood schools’ account as bent in this manner.
But she said Nicholas was able to actuate FEMA to pay $46 actor to attach a abstruse apprenticeship centermost with 14 programs to the Summersville-area school, admitting the canton already accepting a abstruse centermost in Craigsville that hasn’t bankrupt and, now, is planned to. So now, about bisected the $159.8 actor in federal dollars is from that additional the account of the above Summersville Middle, while the added bisected is from the Richwood schools.
When asked why she didn’t additionally try to characterization the Richwood academy a “comprehensive aerial school” like the added one and access a abstruse apprenticeship centermost for it, she said “with the projected acceptance there’s no way we can sustain six CTE [career abstruse education] programs there.”
The now-planned Summersville-area academy is to be congenital at the Glade Creek Business Park and consolidate Summersville Middle, the abstruse academy and Nicholas Canton High, which additionally wasn’t razed afterwards the flood. Its amount tag is about the $130 actor appraisal [which afar the amount of acreage and armpit preparation] that Burge-Tetrick had aggregate for the absolutely circumscribed school, which would’ve additionally alloyed Richwood Average and Richwood High.
This circumscribed Summersville-area academy would in about-face chargeless up the Nicholas Canton Aerial architecture to become the new Summersville Elementary, acceptance that elementary school’s architecture to close.
Sharon and Bill Glasscock own the Laurel Creek Hardwoods lumberyard and sawmill that’s afar by a parking lot and fence from the Richwood Average carriageable classrooms now sitting on the Cherry River Elementary site. They said they acquire the Nicholas lath is agilely architecture the Richwood academy to fail.
Sharon Glasscock, who believes the $30 actor account could body a acceptable academy for Richwood if it were placed on the Collins site, said she believes the canton academy system’s absorbed is to still do the abounding alliance into Glade Creek in the future.
Burge-Tetrick said “Richwood Aerial Academy and Richwood Average Academy will absorb their names, mascots and traditions and it would crave a cease audition to accomplish any of those changes and carelessness the abstraction and that is absolutely not intended.”
The askew account affairs were appear through abstracts Burge-Tetrick aggregate with the Gazette-Mail appropriate afterwards her board’s Sept. 4 vote to acquire the $159.8 actor in FEMA dollars. Matthis — a North Carolina resident, Richwood Aerial almunus, brother of Nicholas Chronicle columnist Susan Johnson and brother-in-law of above Nicholas Circuit adjudicator Gary Johnson — said he aboriginal saw the abstracts in August in a acknowledgment to an accessible annal request.
The abstracts Burge-Tetrick provided appearance the Summersville-area academy is planned to be a almost 345,000-square-feet anatomy with an absorbed abstruse centermost and “a new advanced cerebration avant-garde look.”
The new plan for Richwood is to add 73,550 aboveboard anxiety assimilate the 35,400-square-feet elementary academy so it can additionally fit the average and aerial schoolers. Instead of a “modern look” the plan proposes a “’lodge” attending with “brick, accustomed bean and timber” that reflects “the community’s heritage.”
Burge-Tetrick said the academy arrangement will carriage acceptance from the Richwood academy to partnering businesses in the Richwood breadth for abstruse education.
Sharon Glasscock acclaimed the Collins site, allotment of addition lumberyard, is absolutely in the bosom of burghal Richwood, breadth acceptance may be able to airing to the burghal library and added partnering businesses, while the Cherry River Elementary armpit isn’t a those businesses or the Richwood football field. Driving on a alley about the Cherry River Elementary site, she had to cull over to let a balk commitment barter canyon on the way to her lumberyard.
Mediation didn’t end fight
The Facebook folio “I am Richwood,” a appointment for alliance opponents aback 2016, still has posts aghast to what the Nicholas lath is proposing.
The Richwood Aerial Academy Alumni Association purchased a half-page advertisement in the Gazette-Mail aftermost ages accusatory about the allotment of funds planned for the Richwood academy and the bounce of the group’s adopted site. The ad said the Richwood schools “are not actuality replaced” and, instead, areas “are actuality cobbled assimilate a 40-year-old elementary school.”
Charleston-based advocate James Barber has accounting to Academy Architecture Authority lath associates “on account of anxious association of Richwood” who abutment application the “Collins” armpit for the school, rather than abacus on to the elementary school.
Sharon Glasscock beneath to say what Barber’s mission is.
“I will say that we’re activity to accompany every access we can to put aback a academy that these kids deserve,” she said.
Also in the post-mediation affray are reals from the One Nicholas Canton Facebook page, which has served as a antithesis to the anti-consolidators, and aspersion accusation threats from Burge-Tetrick adjoin “I am Richwood” folio administrators. She said there acquire been aggressive posts and “we acquire two years’ account of screenshots, I am fed up.”
“I appetite to acquire amazing accessories for all of our students,” she said, “and it’s adverse that some bodies abide to be aghast but I acutely acquire it’s the minority.”
Consolidation opponents had an accessory in Justice, who publicized the Richwood supporters’ action adjoin consolidation.
They had an accessory in the accompaniment academy board, whose associates heard and questioned the capacity of the Nicholas board’s abounding alliance plan afore cutting it bottomward twice.
They had an accessory in the accompaniment Supreme Court, whose associates upheld the accompaniment board’s appropriate to adios Nicholas’ beforehand plan.
But the aerial cloister didn’t adjustment what had to appear next.
Next, it angry out, was a abundantly behind-closed-doors arbitration process, sponsored by the governor and adjourned by FEMA, that took abode amid accompaniment lath and Nicholas lath leaders and the accompaniment and Nicholas superintendents. It accustomed association to animadversion on plans, but during the arbitration the about aggregate affairs were broad, and the askew banking abstracts weren’t revealed.
The Nicholas lath again accustomed a ambiguous plan the day afore the May 8 primary, again three Richwood-backed lath candidates absent during that primary, two incumbents were re-elected and the accompaniment lath active off on that ambiguous plan the aing day.
“If it wasn’t the will of the bodies our association wouldn’t acquire been re-elected,” Burge-Tetrick said.
County and accompaniment apprenticeship admiral said the plan didn’t charge to go through academy cease accessible hearings — a March 2017 one at Richwood Aerial had admiring about 250 bodies — because admitting Richwood Average and Richwood Aerial accumulation physically with Cherry River Elementary, and admitting the others aing physically a Summersville, they would still be abstracted schools with abstracted principals.
State academy lath affiliate Debra Sullivan had questioned the abounding alliance plan afore cutting it bottomward aftermost year, allurement about amount per acre of the planned armpit and added particulars.
When Burge-Tetrick brought the ambiguous new plan aback afore the accompaniment lath on May 9, Sullivan said “There’s no advice about aboveboard footage. How in the apple can you account to body a architecture back you don’t apperceive what you’re attractive at?”
Burge-Tetrick said she couldn’t accommodate all the details.
“So what you’re allurement is that we acquire trust?” Sullivan asked.
“Yes,” Burge-Tetrick said.
Sullivan, and all her adolescent lath members, accustomed the new plan.
Claiming an absolution to accompaniment accessible affairs laws, the Nicholas lath has discussed architecture and planning abaft bankrupt doors with the architect, Burge-Tetrick said.
Sharon Glasscock said ZMM had three affairs with a lath of individuals from Richwood in July. She said the aftermost “got appealing heated” back ZMM appear the projected acceptance abstracts and a adapt assuming how the average and aerial schools would be added on to the elementary.
“Those affairs were a decay of time … they captivated affairs to aloof authority meetings,” Glasscock said.
“A brace of them didn’t affliction for it,” Ferguson said of the committee’s acknowledgment to the plan to add assimilate Cherry River Elementary. “There were a brace of them that were accessible to the idea, and aforementioned affair with the numbers, some of them agreed with the lower cardinal and some of them capital a abundant college acceptance number.”
Glasscock said she doesn’t anticipate the governor or accompaniment academy lath associates are acquainted of what’s happening.
“If they chase through with this, I anticipate they’re aloof as accusable as the accompaniment Supreme Cloister justices in crumbling money,” she said.
State lath President Dave Perry said he’s blessed with the county’s plan for the Richwood academy and the accompaniment lath is “out of it, fundamentally.”
“It’s added than what any of us anticipated,” Perry said of the Richwood school. “And I anticipate you acquire to be actively acquainted of the populations that both schools will serve. … Bodies charge to accord it a chance.”
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