Community responds to pause in new Clendenin Elementary construction

Local News

CLENDENIN, WV (WOWK) – Work has been paused on construction of a new Clendenin Elementary following the discovery of a soil condition at the site that requires additional investigation. Some people in the community say the delay is heartbreaking.

Some scraps are all that is left of the former Clendenin Elementary School where generations started their education. The school was destroyed by floodwater in the summer of 2016. Holli Hess used to teach second grade there.

“Not only losing their schools but a lot of them lost their homes,” she said.

Since the flood students from Clendenin Elementary have been sharing a school with Bridge Elementary.

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

Site of the new Clendenin Elementary School

News of a setback in the construction of the new school has been heartbreaking for people in the community. Kanawha County Schools announced this week that construction is paused while they wait for additional soil testing.

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

In Clendenin, there is still a great deal of healing to do not just at 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 Clendenin Elementary students that had to go to school at Bridge Elementary. “So my hope and prayer is that they handle this right they fix the issues before going any further and I hope the best for the kids.”

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

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

According to Kanawha County Schools they are not sure how long the investigation will take or if soil testing will delay the overall project.

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