ELKVIEW, W.Va. — State lawmakers were in awe while getting their first ever look at the brand new Herbert Hoover High School in Elkview, but that was only before they actually walked inside.
Around 30 West Virginia senators and delegates all at once came to the new high school in Kanawha County Sunday afternoon for a tour of the state-of-the-art facility and the new equipment used by the teachers and students in each of the classrooms.
Principal Mike Kelley led the group through the school which was ready for its students and staff to be ready for use by the beginning of the school year just a few weeks back. Kelley said construction crews are still present at the school and will be for months to come to ultimately finalize the entire project.
There are some aspects of the school that still need to be worked on like the roofing and the baseball and softball fields outside, as well as the flooring in some sections of the school on the inside.
State Senator Mike Caputo (D-Marion) said as they drove up the hill and saw the main entrance to the long-stretching school, he and everyone else looking out their window were blown away.
“Everyone was in awe,” Caputo said. “I’ve never seen a facility quite like this.”
Caputo has been on the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding for the past year, but he knows it’s been a long time coming for the members of this school and of the community who had their previous school wiped out in the 2016 flood.
“The devastation, and to come back even better than before, that’s what you got to do, you got to take tragedy and turn it into triumph and that’s exactly what happened here,” said Caputo.
Lawmakers glanced at the football stadium and neighboring soccer and tennis facilities outside before walking into the main entrance at the front of the facility.
Once inside, Principal Kelley guided them through, showing off the commons area before taking them through select classrooms and learning hubs. Kelley also showed his favorite area of the high school, the career and technical section of the building, where students can learn skills or how to use different technologies that prepare them for a career.
State Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan) was jealous of the wood shop and the computer science classrooms.
“Everything’s very different from the time that I went to high school,” Trump said jokingly. “These classrooms will provide kids with opportunities to learn so that they can enter the workforce in the 21st century.”
He came away very impressed, and not just with each classroom and then eventually the athletic facilities on the other side of the school that they toured as well, but with the leadership, especially from Kelley,
“I’ve admired since the first time I met him, his determination and vision,” said Trump, a former member of the joint flooding committee. “He’s clearly invested in his staff and the kids.”
Sen. Caputo was just as impressed with what kids at Hoover get to utilize.
“The technical education part of this facility has got to be second to none, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Caputo said seeing the school with his own eyes, it reminded him of how good things like this can happen in the state when school officials along with local and state government can work together.
“We can do good things in West Virginia when we have the political will and desire to do it and this is a perfect example,” said Caputo.