SISSONVILLE, WV (WOWK) – It’s an uphill battle at Sissonville High School as they work to fix a landslide next to the school’s football field and track, just as the Friday Night Lights season comes to an end.
Construction efforts are underway now to fix this landslide.
“We’re a state of small towns, and people connect with their local high schools. They’re at the cornerstones of our communities. We want to take care of them. We’re going to hold them responsible,” said West Virginia Del. Dana Ferrell who represents northern Kanawha County.
The hill, located beside the track, developed the landslide and other shifts in the ground last spring. School officials said this is a problem for two reasons: first and foremost, safety. Secondly, the landslide is causing mud and water to spill over the track and turf football field, which was just installed in the past couple of years.
“It’s not a danger and it hasn’t obstructed the walkways. The big concern is washing mud onto the new track,” Sissonville High School Principal Gene Smith said.
A few years ago, students worked hard to raise thousands of dollars to build the new football turf and track, so restoring the damage is a big deal for community moral.
“It’s the safety and well being of those students that are attending, those student athletes that are there and attending Sissonville High School and any other high school in the state of West Virginia,” Del. Ferrell said.
Some parents at Sissonville High School said they’re upset because they thought this would all be fixed before the football season began. However, officials at the school district said they never had a definite timeline.
“On the surface, it looks like nothing is happening but behind the scenes, there’s a lot going on. Unfortunately, I know we were talking about getting this fixed before the season,” Del. Ferrell said. “I’m not going to fault the county on that.
The board approved money for repairs on October 2. Those repairs are beginning now.
The cause of this landslide has not been officially stated by either Principal Smith or Del. Ferrell.
“That bank had been there had been in place and solid for five decades, since at least 1970 with no issues. Then all of a sudden, it starts slipping this year. Well, there was geothermal drilling right up above that on the baseball field just a few feet away, and then suddenly this happens. Is this a coincidence? I’m no engineer; I don’t know,” Del. Ferrell said.
When construction is done, Principal Smith said the grass will be gone and replaced with a concrete seating area to prevent future landslides and expand seating capacity.
“It’s important to know that from the outside looking in it may look like some people were dragging their feet or just taking too long. It is a large job. In order for it to be done correctly, we need to make sure that all our I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. I’m confident that that’s going to happen,” Smith said.
Smith said the goal is for construction to start now and be done by next year’s track season.