Kanawha County Schools will move students out of the 80-year-old Glenwood Elementary building in March to a brand-new school on Florida Street. Chandler Elementary students will also attend the new school.
Chuck Wilson, facilities director and chief architect for Kanawha County Schools, said the county had to replace those schools because repairing them wasn't a feasible option.
"We always look first to see if we can use what we've got, but sometimes you can't," he said.
Wilson said the school system does everything it can to make the buildings look good, even if they aren't as nice as they used to be.
"We try to keep them painted up. To the untrained eye, they look nice," Wilson said.
But it's what's on the inside that counts, he said, and that's not nearly as attractive.
"This building started out burning coal," Wilson said.
Glenwood now features inefficient gas heating system and lots of asbestos, he said.
Wilson said many old school buildings no longer meet regulations set by state law.
For instance, state fire code requires pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade classes be located on a building's first floor.
But Wilson says Glenwood, a three-story school, only has a couple classrooms on its ground floor. He said the county had to put portable classrooms at the school in the past, just to make enough room for students.
He said the school system doesn't have room to expand at the Glenwood property, either. Houses hem the building in on all sides.
"If the site is a postage stamp, you need to look elsewhere," Wilson said.
The school system plans to trade the Glenwood property to the city of Charleston for a parcel of Cato Park land. The district would then construct a second new West Side elementary school at Cato, and the city would likely demolish Glenwood and turn the area into a park.
Kanawha Valley Historical & Preservation Society members are fighting that plan, however. They say the building, designed in 1922 by Charleston architect H. Rus Warne, is a city landmark and should be preserved.
Warne also designed Charleston City Hall, the Kanawha County Courthouse, the Scottish Rites Temple on Capitol Street and the Charleston Newspapers building, to name a few.
Some West Side residents say they want the school to become a police substation, which they say would reduce the amount of crime in the area.
Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.har...@dailymail.com.