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Courtesy of James E. Casto When it was built in 1953, Beverly Hills Junior High was the largest single addition to the county school system since Huntington East High was built in 1939.

HUNTINGTON — In 1951, the Cabell County Board of Education revealed plans for Beverly Hills Junior High School, a new, modern school to be built on a 25-acre site near the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Saltwell Road at U.S. 60.

The architectural firm of Frampton & Bowers designed the new junior high, described as the largest single addition to the county school system since Huntington East High was built in 1939.

The school board set aside $450,000 to build the new school, but when construction bids on the project were opened in 1953 the low bids for the work totaled more than $700,000.

To bring down the costs, the school's auditorium and gymnasium were temporarily eliminated with a plan to add them at a future date, which was done. In 1963, a six-classroom addition was built at the school and another identical six-room addition was added in 1969. School Superintendent Olin C. Nutter noted that the additions brought the total cost of the school to more than $1 million.

Like the county's other junior highs, Beverly Hills ultimately was designated a "middle school." It was closed it 2013 when students from it and Enslow Middle Schools were consolidated at the new Huntington East Middle School.

However, Beverly Hills was given a new lease on life when it was extensively remodeled to house the county's new Explorer Academy, a dramatically different kind of school that opened in 2016. The new school was the first in West Virginia to implement Expeditionary Learning education model.

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