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Edgewood site starting to take shape

Crews have been at work on Kanawha County's new elementary school for nearly six months, but they're just getting ready to start on construction of the actual facility.

That doesn't mean they haven't been busy.

At this site, a little less than a mile off Wood Road on Charleston's West Side, preparation of the site was half the battle.

Crews had to construct a road to the site where the school will be built, a complicated process for a location as remote as this one.

That road, nearly a mile long, is practically finished now; it's covered in gravel and waiting for its first layer of asphalt.

"You can actually drive out there in a car now, get a feel for the place," said Chuck Wilson, facilities director for Kanawha County Schools. "It's spectacular. The site is remote and it's going to be quiet and a great environment for learning."

The layout of the property is starting to take shape - you can make out the bus loop and the pad where the building will be.  

On a recent day, workers from Deskins Extruded Concrete Curbing in Ohio were putting in the concrete curbs for the bus loop.

They had been working on the curb for that one-mile road for nearly three weeks and still had a few days of work to go.  

When they're done and the rest of the site preparation is completed, within a few weeks, construction of the actual facility will begin.

Construction is slated to be finished by the summer of 2014, with students moving into the building in the fall.

Wilson said the project is on track to meet that deadline.

It's also on budget, although that figure is still bloated from the project's original price tag.

The building was originally estimated to cost about $12 million, but the extensive site preparation bumped the cost closer to $22 million.

When officials began discussing the project in 2010, school board officials were planning to pitch in around $3.7 million in county money, with the state paying the rest.

Now, the county is paying closer to $12 million.

The School Building Authority, the public agency that divvies up state funds for school construction projects, is pitching in about $10 million - $1 million more than it originally allocated for the building.

The new school, officially named Edgewood Elementary School by the school board, will consolidate two struggling West Side Elementary schools: J.E. Robins and Watts.

It's being billed as a "school of the future" and will feature a "blended learning" style and a lot of technology - most notably a one-to-one student-to-device ratio in the second through fifth grades.

Last week Henry Nearman, the current principal at J.E. Robins who was slated to be principal at the new school, retracted his acceptance of that position.

He'll take over at Ruffner Elementary instead.

The Edgewood principal job has not yet been filled.

Contact writer Shay Maunz at or 304-348-4886.


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