$2.6 million to go toward outdoor classrooms for KanCo schools

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — This Fall, students at Kanawha County Schools will get an extension of their summer outdoor time, as teachers will be able to take some of their lessons outside.

The school board voted Monday to allocate $2.6 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ESSERF) to build outdoor classrooms.

“Prices with COVID keep going up but right now we’re hoping that that’s what it will come in,” said KANCO Superintendent Tom Williams.

Williams says the classroom space will look different at each school, but the more than $2 million price tag will include the cost of the excavation and concrete to build them.

For parents like Chuckie Kay, who has two elementary-aged boys at Belle Elementary, it’s welcome news.

“My boys love it outside, I think it’s good because they would get more than just books, they would get hands-on stuff,” he said.

The school board also voted to add additional jobs; most of them in maintenance.

With many of the school district’s buildings being more than 100 years old, Williams says maintenance is a huge issue … and one of their biggest complaints.

“We’re hoping with some of these positions that there will be some more feet on the ground or boots on the ground, and people actually in the schools looking to see what needs to be done and getting it done,” said Williams.

The school board will also be adding an additional communications specialist position.

The positions will be officially advertised later this week.

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