CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the last six and a half years, students at Herbert Hoover High School in Elkview have grown accustomed to a different learning environment.
The high school was wiped out back in 2016 due to the flood, forcing students and teachers to operate in portable buildings set up in the Elkview Middle School parking lot.
The new school building is nearing completion and expects to be ready and functional for students and staff when they return from summer break.
On Thursday, the Kanawha County Commission awarded Herbert Hoover High School and Principal Mike Kelley a check for $200,000 to use as they prepare to move into their new facility beginning this summer.
Kelley said he greatly appreciates the support from the commission over the years and that this money will be used strategically.
“This kind of gesture from the county commission is not only going to benefit current students, but we want to do some long term things with this,” said Kelley.
The money given to the school, Kelley said, will be used specifically with the interests of the students in mind.
“You want to talk with the stakeholders, the people involved,” Kelley said. “What do you all think about how we can best spend this money in the interests of our students.”
President of the Kanawha County Commission Kent Carper said the funding for the school was raised non-traditionally, without having to raise property taxes. Carper, along with Commissioner Lance Wheeler, said they are happy to help out the school and Principal Kelley because that’s what local government should do.
“You’re a part of this community,” said Wheeler. “This is what’s great about local government, helping our local people.”
Despite the relocation and challenges that have come along the way, Principal Kelley said what he’s seen from the students in the near 7 years as far as a response and results has been quite impressive.
“We said we weren’t going to make excuses, and we’ve been more successful in the last six and a half years since the flood than we ever have in the history of our school,” Kelley said.
Delegate Dean Jeffries, of Kanawha county, is also pleased with how the students have handled adversity and is excited for them to use their new building in a few months.
“It’s a beautiful school,” Jeffries said. “This is something our kids deserve and they’ve waited a long time for.”
Jeffries also mentioned how advanced the new facilities are, including the athletic ones, calling them “second to none.”