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School building projects continuous in Kanawha

At any time, Kanawha County Schools is working on dozens of small facilities projects - minor renovations and repairs across the 4.3 million square feet of facilities maintained by the school system.

And right now, there are also a slew of big budget, big impact projects in the works across Kanawha County, in different stages of development.

"The needs of students are constantly evolving and changing," said facilities' director Chuck Wilson. "And the curriculum needs drive the facilities needs - buildings need to be maintained."

The largest current project is Edgewood Elementary, off Wood Road near the Edgewood Country Club. Edgewood is slated for completion by February of next year.

The $21 million project will build a "smart school" with an automated HVAC system that can be controlled remotely, as well as an automated light and security system, and other high-tech features.

At least some of those features will be added to the county's other projects. The idea is to slowly integrate high-tech features into all of the county's schools, without doing a major overhaul of all the buildings at once.

East Bank Middle School is the county's largest renovation project currently in the works - they're currently in the construction phase of the renovation, and hope to have the project complete by August, in time for the new school year.

"Kids have been hot and kids have been cold at the wrong time of the year there, so we're going to fix that," Wilson said.

That renovation will replace the school's existing heating and cooling system, and replace some toilets and other building features to bring more light into the hallways.  

A project at Chamberlain Elementary School is currently out for bid. The estimated $1.2 million project will take care of a leaky roof and failing windows, and restore some of the brick on the outside of the building, all in an effort to keep water out of the building.

 In the midst of all of this, the school system is in the middle of an 18 month contract to renovate buildings county-wide that will help buildings operate more efficiently. The $23 million project consists of replacing heating and cooling systems and weatherproofing windows and doors.

And they're at the tail end of a building access program, meaning that nearly all Kanawha County schools have now been renovated to include a secure entry system.

"We're building a large, automated control system across all schools," Wilson said. "It's a little like Star Trek."

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



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