Hacker Valley School Shines Brightly For Webster

New Hacker Valley School will open in January

Come January, the students of Hacker Valley School will be moving, if only across the road, to a newly constructed community school, according to Amelia Anderson of Challenge WV.

For over a year, this rural and sparsely populated community in northern Webster County has watched as teams of workers moved soil, poured concrete, laid blocks and bricks, and created the plumbing and electrical infrastructure necessary for a brand new school.

Slowly but surely, a beautiful new school has arisen.

The need for a permanent facility goes back 42 years to 1966, when the one and two room schools of the surrounding hills joined together to form Hacker Valley Grade School.

That effort resulted in the placement of ten trailers to be used as school facilities.

The modular units served the community well, but time, temperature, and daily use took its toll.

Over the years, the roof leaked and was frequently repaired by the maintenance department and then completely replaced by the community in 1996.

The floors wore down, developed soft spots, and were patched. The single pane windows leaked and on cold mornings, ice could be scraped off the inside of the glass.

The building’s aluminum wiring was deemed substandard, and the baseboard heaters inefficient and inadequate. Child size bathroom stalls could not accommodate the handicapped, and the entrances could not be made secure.

In 1995, the administration and school board attempted to close the community school, but after much resistance and the community’s replacement of the roof, the school was spared the axe of consolidation.

Plans for a new school remained on the table for a number of years. The community, afraid its small population would prevent it from receiving School Building Authority funding based on economies of scale, was making plans to build its own school.

NEW VISION FOR A COMMUNITY SCHOOL

An area architect, Bryson Van Nostrand, who had attended the grade school, submitted design plans, volunteers signed-up to commit countless hours to the project, and material donations were being sought.

But the tide turned, and after numerous meetings among then, Webster County School Superintendent, Kay Carpenter, local school board members and administrators, and SBA officials under the direction of Dr. Mark Manchin, funding approval was given for a new Hacker Valley Grade School.

The West Virginia-based architectural firm ZMM was contracted, and after a number of meetings with school and county office staff and members of the community, building plans were approved.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held in May 2007, with both Governor Joe Manchin and SBA Director Mark Manchin in attendance.

Actual building work has been ongoing since the Fall of 2007, by High Point Construction of Buckhannon, WV.

The school is expected to be ready for use by January 2009, and Principal Kennetha Howes is already making plans to mobilize the community to assist with the big move across the road.

Some sixty plus preschool through 8th graders will be the first of many to inhabit the halls of the new Hacker Valley School.

Total cost is estimated to be approximately seven million dollars, and the end result will be a sturdy and striking facility that should serve the preschool through 8th grade students of the Hacker Valley area well into the 22nd century.