CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When students return to school at Poca Elementary and Middle schools this month, they'll meet with a very different landscape than the one they left in the spring.
The massive renovation and construction project on the grounds there is in its final stages: demolition of the old middle school building started Wednesday and should be complete by the end of the week.
Then crews will take around two days to clear the space before work begins on the next phase of the project: paving.
If all goes according to plan, by the time students arrive on Aug. 22 the place where the old Poca Middle School stood will be a parking lot and student drop-off area for the schools.
Brad Hodges, facilities director for Putnam County schools, said crews are on track to have the work completed by the Aug. 22 start date.
"It's going to be cutting it close but that's our goal," Hodges said.
The demolition of the elementary school, which was built in 1926, and repurposing of the old Poca Middle School is part of a $21.6 million project that should be complete by the end of the summer.
That project included the construction of a new middle school adjacent to the elementary school, and an extensive renovation of the existing elementary school building.
Those renovations include new flooring and ceiling tiles and a new HVAC system, among other things. Hodges called it a "complete overhaul." Officials plan to have that work completed by the first day of school as well.
"It's close to being done," Hodges said. "We don't anticipate any problems."
The new Poca Middle School was completed in December of 2012, and students moved into the building after spring break last year.
These construction projects are part of a 2009 voter-approved bond sale in Putnam County. That bond sale also included funds for the new Confidence Elementary School and Buffalo High School, both of which opened last year, and new facilities for Winfield Middle School.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.