ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) – A demolition project to tear down the old St. Albans Junior High School is looking at a bigger price tag, according to St. Albans Mayor Scott James.

“We approved up to $500,000 to demolish this. We’re hoping that covers it, but we’re looking at other options because everything else has gone up,” said James. “So, we’re actually looking at securing funding up to $600,000 to $700,000 to make sure we get the project completed.”

The school has been closed for over 25 years and was condemned after a fire broke out in March 2018.

Two years ago, City Council approved a project to tear down the building and remove the asbestos inside. However, James said problems acquiring ownership have caused a delay.

“During the title search, we found out that an individual had conveyed this property to himself,” he said. “And we’ve come into some legal hurdles and obstacles, but we think that we’re very close now.”

Josh Elswick has lived down the street from the old building for seven years. He said the building is not just an eyesore, it poses several safety concerns.

“You can smell mold. You can smell, it’s not a good odor. It’s a pungent odor,” Elswick said. “At the same time, you have homeless people breaking into it all the time. They put a gate around it, but the gate doesn’t keep anybody out.”

Once it’s torn down, community members are looking forward to what will take its place. However, Mayor James said the city does not have a specific date for when that will happen.

“I wish I could’ve done it two years ago, but because of the legal issues we haven’t been able to do that,” he said. “But we’re close it’s going to come down.”