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Cabell County Board of Education Members gathered yesterday morning at the site of the brand new Huntington East Middle School for a tour.
Huntington East Middle will house students from the current Beverly Hills and Enslow Middle Schools. The $24 million facility sits on top of a hill just off route 60 outside of Huntington. As time nears for students to enter the facility in January, board members gathered to get their first look.
Mike O’Dell was the tour guide yesterday, he’s the Assistant Superintendent of Operations in Cabell County. He led the group on a tour that took nearly an hour and a half. Winding his way around a facility that will house nearly 800 students as the two middle schools combine, O’Dell said the construction has been exciting.
“This one has been fun, it’s probably been one of the smoothest projects I’ve been involved with, but it’s been exciting because it’s different from any other project, this building is literally going to be a teaching tool being a LEED silver green school,” O’Dell said.
LEED silver is one of the many rating systems given by the United States Green Building Council. It means many of the programs involved in the school from tracking power usage and the amount of water runoff from the property, along with using only recycled materials in the cafeteria and creating a compost system, qualify the school for the ranking. William Smith is Superintendent of Cabell County Schools, he said the certification is one of the things that makes this school special.
“One of the things I think is special is it of course is a green school and we’ve incorporated that technique into the curriculum, so the students are looking at green technology and conservation and things that relate to them in the real world and that’s going to be a major teaching tool,” Smith said.
O’Dell said it’s been special to be a part of the construction of a facility that can take education in Cabell County to the next level. The school will include green learning into the curriculum and all the different types of technology will be available to the students.
Huntington East Middle will welcome students for the first time on January 8th. The three grades will have staggered arrivals so each grade can become acclimated to their new surroundings. But that doesn’t mean everything is ready for students to walk through the door, at least not yet.
O’Dell said he’s looking forward to seeing the faces of the 6th, 7th and 8th graders on their first day in the building.
“Because I think they’re going to love it, this is one of the finest facilities that we have in the county and much nicer than the facilities they’re coming from, but there is nothing like the reality of coming into a brand new building,” O’Dell said.
The school was constructed through a combination of funding awarded by the state School Building Authority and county money.