HUNTINGTON — The concept of building a new arts-focused school near the Ritter Park Amphitheater as a replacement for Meadows Elementary School is in the very early, “dreaming big” stage for the district, Cabell County Schools Superintendent Ryan Saxe said Saturday evening in a Facebook post.
Saxe made the announcement following a post from a member of the Greater Huntington Board of Park Commissioners who he approached with the idea and to gauge the possibility as one of many options for improving the school and its location, he said.
“As many are probably aware, there is a scarcity for property in and around the school,” Saxe said in the post. “For one of the options, I did approach the park board to get their thoughts and ideas.”
Saxe said he plans to meet with the school community, Local School Improvement Council, staff and other stakeholders to gain additional feedback.
“Just one of several ideas I discussed with the Park Board Planning Committee was to build a school behind the existing amphitheater. I discussed that the theater could also be renovated as part of the potential project,” he said. “The school wouldn’t look like a typical school; rather, it would be designed in collaboration with the park board and the community to complement other buildings at the park and, taking advantage of the amphitheater, could have a focus on the arts.”
In addition, Saxe said the school could include play spaces open to the public during non-school hours, and he discussed the possibility of renovating existing ponds and creating an “art walk”-themed trail, although the district is still in the early planning process.
“We have not formulated any solid plans at this point and are still considering a variety of projects and working to identify possible locations as we finish our work on a 10-year facilities plan for the district,” he said. “As we determine what may be possible, I look forward to sharing these ideas with all stakeholders so we can receive your input before we move forward.”
Saxe said he has not yet had the opportunity to share the idea with the entirety of the Greater Huntington Board of Park Commissioners.
Meadows Elementary is one of five elementary schools that could face replacement in the district’s Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan unveiled in March.
If the school were to be replaced on site, committee members who developed the plan with stakeholder feedback suggested it be built farther back from its existing location at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Hal Greer Boulevard.