School Funding

W.Va. School Building Authority Grants $75M for School Construction

This week, the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) approved just under $75 million in “Needs Grants” for school construction projects in seven counties. SBA members selected the recipients from a list of proposed projects in 30 counties totaling $248 million.

Roane County received nearly $14 million to build a new Spencer Middle School. “This was our third try at SBA funding for this project, and certainly we’re appreciative to the SBA for seeing this as a worthy project. The competition is extremely stiff, and we’re just happy to have it,” said Superintendent of Roane County Schools Richard Duncan.

County superintendents from around the state submitted requests for building renovations in March. SBA architects then evaluate the properties. To receive state funding, each site must meet a set of criteria broken up into 10 categories that were set by state lawmakers. The architects then recommend projects on which to move forward to the board, and the SBA approves the recommendation.

“The ones that were funded were the best of the best. Every project has a ton of merit; every project is the number-one project in that county,” said director of Architectural Services Ben Ashley.

Districts who didn’t receive funding this time around can re-apply later this year. Superintendents are scheduled to make presentations in November, and the funding decisions will be announced in December. Ashley says by then, the SBA should likely have an additional $75 million to divert to state school construction and renovation.

In the meantime, West Virginia schools have received (or will soon receive) federal funds to use on schools’ needs. According to State Department of Education School Operations Officer Amy Willard, schools received a total of $300 million in one round and another $700 million in the most recent round of federal relief. “It’s a little more broad with what they can do with those funds,” she said. “It talks about remediating environmental hazards. I think they can do roofs, window projects and door projects.”

The seven counties that received funding this week include:

  • Greenbrier County: $8 million to relocate Alderson Elementary to the Community Center
  • Jefferson County: $7.5 million for a new Shepherdstown Elementary and a new Ransom Elementary
  • Mercer County: $9.6 million for a new PreK-5 school for Bluewell and Brushfork
  • Mineral County: $19.1 million for a new Frankfort Primary PreK-4 school
  • Ohio County: $18 million for renovations to six schools
  • Roane County: $13.9 million for a new Spencer Middle School
  • Summers County: $8.2 million for additions and renovations to the middle-high school

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].