HUNTINGTON — Meadows Elementary School will soon find itself in a new location following a decision from the Cabell County Board of Education on Tuesday.
After hearing several members of the community — including Huntington Mayor Steve Williams — speak in support of redeveloping the property where the school is currently located, Superintendent Ryan Saxe recommended the new school be built at a W.Va. 10 site along Woodville Drive.
Saxe said the decision was a difficult one, but building on the new site brings opportunity that wasn’t at Meadows’ current location.
“What stands out about the Route 10 site is the sheer opportunity that exists,” Saxe said. “It is going to be a beautiful site for a world-class elementary school.”
The motion giving Saxe the authorization needed to move forward in the purchase was passed by a 4-1 vote. Skip Parsons was the lone board member who opposed, saying that building away from the current location isn’t what voters approved when the bond being used to build the school was passed.
The property is 47 acres, 15 of which will be used to construct the school building, parking lot and other facilities. It is located two-tenths of a mile from W.Va. 10 on Warehouse Road, which is near Huntington High School.
While the new location provides opportunity, the decision isn’t what many hoped for.
Among those who urged board members to consider building at the current location was Meadows Elementary Principal Amy Maynard. While disappointed in the outcome of the vote, she said she respects the decision of the board and looks forward to the future of the school.
“At the end of everything, the important thing to remember is that we are making progress and we are going to be able to provide our students with an opportunity of a new facility, regardless of where it is located,” Maynard said.
The plan for building on the current site of the elementary school would have required purchasing 14 residential properties along Washington Boulevard.
That complicated things, Saxe said, and would have made redeveloping the existing site more expensive than acquiring the alternative location. He said the board plans to work closely with the city to make sure the current building doesn’t sit vacant when the school moves.
“We are going to have a commitment to that community to make sure we take care of that site, and will work with the city to help market that property when there is no more use for it to the school district so that it can be a beautiful gateway to the city of Huntington,” Saxe said.
In other business, board members approved a change in the school calendar, adding days to the end of the current academic year after inclement weather forced the school system to close for eight days in February. The last day for students is now June 10, while June 11 will be the last day for 200-day staff.