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BOE delays decision on site of former Park Hills school, RESA branch

August 8, 2018

HUNTINGTON - The Cabell County Board of Education discussed but took no action on the future of the former Park Hills Elementary School during its regular meeting Tuesday night at the district’s central office in Huntington.

Located at 2001 McCoy Road in Huntington, the former school, which operated from 1964-89, most recently housed the state’s Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) II branch for more than 25 years until the statewide RESA system was dissolved by the West Virginia Legislature in 2017.

Cabell County Schools has owned the property since the building’s construction, and Superintendent of Schools Ryan Saxe outlined to the board three options for the future of the now-vacant building, described as in good condition and well-maintained.

One option was to use the building to expand the district’s career technology education offerings, particularly in creating a cosmetology program or moving the nursing program to the building. However, the cost to renovate the roughly 13,000-square-foot building for such a purpose was estimated at $672,000, which Saxe said was likely not feasible.

Another option was to maintain the building as storage, but Saxe noted the property would still need to be maintained for a yet undetermined amount of use.

The third option would be to sell the property at a public auction, though city zoning laws would limit potential buyers, board President Mary Neely pointed out.

Because that area of McCoy Road is strictly residential, with the former RESA building exempt due to its educational purpose, buyers would likely either need to maintain the property for educational use or demolish the building to build a house.

Cabell County Schools sold two of its former schools at public auction in February - Geneva Kent Elementary for $130,000 and Peyton Elementary for $42,000.

The board took no action other than deciding to discuss the matter at future meetings until a clear direction is decided.

In other business, the board approved the second reading on 60 policy updates, the vast majority being minor wording revisions to the school’s legal code. Updates are mostly to keep in line with state code, said Jedd Flowers, Cabell County Schools director of communication. These include the implementation of Policy 2510, which reduces the credits required to graduate from high school from 24 to 22, among other changes.

All policies are posted online for the public at www.cabellschools.com under the “Board of Education” tab at the “Policy Review” link.

Policy revisions require three public readings before being passed, meaning they could not be fully ratified at Tuesday’s meeting. The third and final reading, followed by a vote, will likely come at the Aug. 21 regular meeting.

In other business, the board voted to enter into an interagency agreement with Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington to provide clinical experience for students in the practical nursing program at the Cabell County Career Technology Center. The agreement becomes effective this coming school year.

The board also rescheduled two future board meetings due to public holidays. The Tuesday, Nov. 6, meeting was moved to Wednesday, Nov. 7, due to Election Day that Tuesday. The Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, meeting was moved to Wednesday, Jan. 2, due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

The board next meets Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The Cabell County Board of Education meets each first and third Tuesday at the district’s central office at 2850 5th Ave. in Huntington. Meetings are always open to the public.

Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter @BishopNash.

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