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Students from Hodgesville Elementary School show their appreciation to the West Virginia School Building Authority for funding additions and renovations at their school.

Upshur County Schools awarded $2.2 million to fund critical upgrades at Hodgesville Elementary School

HODGESVILLE – Hodgesville Elementary School is in dire need of several upgrades.

So, on Monday, officials from Upshur County Schools were grateful to learn their application to the West Virginia School Building Authority for just over $2.2 million was selected for funding.

The SBA received requests from 27 counties for a total of $137 million, and they selected just eight counties to fund with NEEDS grants totaling $46 million, including Upshur.

NEEDS projects are major capital improvement projects funded through the SBA’s General Construction Fund. County boards of education submit capital improvement projects to the SBA for funding consideration, according to the SBA of W.Va.’s website.

Eleven other counties received $26 million in funding from an investment fund for roofing and HVAC projects.

Upshur County Schools superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus said she’d just learned the funds were being awarded from the SBA competition Monday.

“I went down to the SBA on Oct. 30 and presented our NEEDS project,” she said. “Today, Monday, we went back to Charleston to hear who was funded.”

Upshur County learns it is one of eight counties being funded by the School Building Authority NEEDS grant Monday in Charleston. The more than $2.2 million will fund renovations and additions at Hodgesville Elementary School. Pictured are, from left, Dana Womack, assistant director of architectural services for the West Virginia School Building Authority; Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus; Dr. George Carver, Upshur County Schools business manager; and Tim Derico, director of facilities and curriculum.

The renovations planned include a new sprinkler system, a new intercom system, a new security system, a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, a Safe Schools entryway and a new addition for the pre-k class.

Stankus said Hodgesville Elementary was built in 1967, making the school 51 years old.

“It had a major addition in 1988, but currently, our pre-k at Hodgesville, our youngest students, are bused from Hodgesville to town for their early childhood education programs,” Dr. Stankus said. “For their pre-k experience, they are bused 20 minutes each way.”

Dr. Stankus said the goal is for those students to be able to be educated in their home school.

“One of the things I presented when I presented to the SBA was that we want to keep our students in their home schools where they can become acclimated to their school environments. Schools aren’t just a building – they are a part of the community. We want those 4-year-old children to be able to stay in their community to be educated.”

Repairs are going to begin immediately now that the funds have been announced.

“Tomorrow, we are going to begin making calls and making plans for the bidding process,” she said. “Optimistically, we hope to complete the project before the new school year.”

Stankus said Upshur County is a great place to live, to work and to be educated.

“We are certainly looking to improve our facilities and with that, including our pre-k education programs in our schools,” she said. “Right now, in this project, the new HVAC will improve the air quality in the building, new sprinklers, new intercom and new security. And we are having a new Safe Schools entryway built.

“It will provide multi-layers to assure more safety on the entrance,” Stankus continued. “We are elated to have this for our community and the Hodgesville community. These additions and renovations to Hodgesville Elementary School will just help them do great things in that school and that community.”

Other counties awarded NEEDS grants by the West Virginia School Building Authority Monday include: Monroe, $11 million; Fayette, $6,665,223; Putnam, $2,500,233; Clay, $9,360,078; Ohio, $9 million; Mingo, $1,743,630; and Summers, $4,125,750.

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