Ashton Marra Published

County Board Vows to Rebuild Clendenin Elementary School


Members of the Kanawha County Board of Education promised the community of Clendenin it would rebuild their destroyed elementary school within the community. 

Clendenin Elementary sustained the most damage of any school in the county during June’s historic flooding when 97 percent of the structure was damaged.

The board held an emergency meeting at the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Depratment Wednesday evening where Superintendent Dr. Ron Duerring explained children would be bused to Bridge Elementary School in Elkview when classes begin on Monday. There, many teachers will double up in classrooms until portable ones can be delivered in late September or early October.

“Health, safety and education. That’s the three most important things we can do for your kids,” Duerring told parents and teachers at the meeting, but he added those three things cannot be provided in the current building.

Several community members expressed concern over the decision urging the board to move students back into their communities as soon as possible. Many questioned why the portable classrooms needed to be placed on the Bridge Elementary site and could not be located on the Clendenin school’s current property, but parents did not get a clear answer from Duerring.

Despite the repeated pledges from Kanawha County Board of Education members, Clendenin Mayor Gary Bledsoe–who calls the elementary school the heart of his community– still worries the county will rebuild elsewhere. 

Bledsoe said Wednesday the school district will have to rely on grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for a new building, but he believes it should be rebuilt on the same property, just raised a few feet to make sure its out of the floodplain.