Community reacts to break in new Clendenin elementary construction

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CLENDENIN, WV (WOWK) – Construction on a new Clendenin Elementary School has been halted following the discovery of soil condition at the site which requires further investigation. Some people in the community say the delay is heartbreaking.

A few remains are all that are left of the old Clendenin Primary School where generations began their education. The school was destroyed by floodwaters in the summer of 2016. Holli Hess was teaching second grade there.

“Not only have they lost their schools, but many of them have lost their homes,” she said.

Since the flood, students at Clendenin Elementary School have shared a school with Bridge Elementary School.

“It was very difficult because being in a home community, everyone knew everyone and the kids felt comfortable,” Hess said.

Site of the new Clendenin primary school

The news of a setback in the construction of the new school was heartbreaking for people in the community. Kanawha County Schools announced this week that construction is on hold pending further soil testing.

“You just want you to know how to say ‘oh no’ because you just want everything to be okay,” Hess said. “Our children deserve so much and our community needs it. “

In Clendenin, there is still a lot of healing to be done not only in the schools but also in the community.

“The kids in this area have been through so much since 2016,” said Dawn Paxton. Her niece was one of the students from Clendenin Elementary who was scheduled to attend Bridge Elementary School. “So my hope and my prayer is that they handle this properly, that they solve the problems before they go any further and I hope for the best for the children. “

The aftermath of the flooding can still be seen and felt in Clendenin as the people who live there continue to look for bright spots where they can.

“We deserve good things because we are good people and our children are important to us,” Hess said.

Schools in Kanawha County say they don’t know how long the survey will take or if soil tests will delay the entire project.

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