Possible school closings in Mercer County has parents upset - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Possible school closings in Mercer County has parents upset

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Mercer County, W.Va. (WVVA)- A ten-year facilities proposal could shape the future of Mercer County schools until the year 2020.

The Mercer County Board of Education, along with a committee of teachers, administrators and concerned residents, are drafting a facilities plan required by the state, that could close eight schools, and construct five new schools.

Part of the proposal is to close Sun Valley Elementary, and transfer students to Athens School. Another part of the plan is to close Mercer and Straley Elementary Schools in Princeton, as well as Memorial and Whitethorn Elementary Schools in Bluefield. New schools would be built to replace the closed schools.

"The committee that has put this plan together proposed it because they thought it was the best option," says Greg Prudich, the president of the Mercer County Board of Education.

Along with consolidating and closing schools, renovations and improvements to school buildings would also be made.

Concerned parents say they don't like the idea of their children possibly having to go to a new school. "For the kids to have to go to a new school and get to know new teachers, I don't understand why the board keep moving these schools around," says parent, Tomasina Primm.

Prudich says the cost to tear down and build new schools, along with renovations, would cost the county between $120-150 million dollars. Prudich says the county expects to get federal funds from the School Building Authority.

A final public hearing was held Tuesday, June 22 at the Mercer County Technical Education Center in Princeton. The board will go over the plan with the county superintendent, and the committee before a decision is made.

Prudich says the board expects to make a final decision at its next meeting.

 To see the plan, go to the Mercer County Board of Education's website, at http://boe.merc.k12.wv.us/.

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