The Logan County Board of Education met with the West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) Monday and returned the $9m grant that was to be used for the new Logan Elementary School.
“We had to go back to the School Building Authority to answer questions and we returned the nine million dollar grant,” Wilma Zigmond, Superintendent of Schools, said. “We told them that we are committed to building a new Logan Elementary School. We are looking for more property and
Citing issues of securing a suitable piece of property within the school zone that meets SBA standards, the BOE voted not to build the school at this time. When property is located, the Board will go back and request the money.”
The Logan Elementary project included a plan to consolidate Logan Elementary and Verdunville Grade School. A site for the new school, located near the Fountain Place Mall between U.S. Route 119 and State Route 73, was selected and a letter of intent to purchase the property was signed and a selling price discussed prior to the SBA awarding the grant.
In the fall of 2012, the Board met again with the property owner and learned the selling price for the property was $1 million more than discussed in the letter of intent, a 45 percent increase.
The board re-evaluated the site due to concerns including conflicting estimates about the depths of underground mines on the property, a news report in November 2012 about pending litigation related to flooding near the intended site and other general concerns about the property.
“They wanted more money,” Zigmond said. “The Board then began looking for another site.”
Several properties within the school zone were researched and considered, but none met both the board’s vision and the SBA’s approval.
Zigmond said the money returned Monday was probably reallocated to another school board and to get the funding for the Logan Elementary project when land is found, the Board will have to reapply for another grant.
“I think the School Board Authority is committed to helping us build the school too,” Zigmond said. “They understand the safety issues on the Island. On any given day, a third of our students is on Midelburg Island.
A report from the Associated Press said that SBA members denied Zigmond’s request for a reserve grant up of to $500,000, which would have allowed the county school board to continue the planning and design process for the new school.