BOE votes to close 3 Frankfort District schools

Liz Beavers
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SHORT GAP - With only one person signing up to speak at any of the three school closure hearings Monday, the Mineral County Board of Education unanimously approved the closure of three schools in the Frankfort District and the subsequent consolidation of the students into a new primary school.

The board had three separate hearings set up Monday at Frankfort High School - one for Frankfort Intermediate School, one for Fort Ashby Primary and one for Wiley Ford Primary.

The proposal is for those three schools to be consolidated into a new Frankfort Primary School, pending funding from the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Only one person signed up to speak during the first hearing, and her concern was that an emergency exit be incorporated into the design for the new school, which will be constructed on the Frankfort High/Frankfort Middle school campus.

“The new school would be the only one in the county where we have one way in and out,” Kelly Barnes said. “We need to think of an emergency plan.”

Superintendent of Schools Troy Ravenscroft told Barnes that emergency exits would be an important part of the planning process for the new school.

No one else signed up to speak at any of the hearings, and so at the conclusion of the evening, a separate vote was taken on each school:

Frankfort Intermediate School closure, motion made by Terry Puffinburger and seconded by Tom Denne, passed 5-0.

Fort Ashby Primary School closure, motion made by Mary Jane Baniak and seconded by Donnie Ashby, passed 5-0.

Wiley Ford Primary School closure, motion made by Tom Denne and seconded by Terry Puffinburger, passed 5-0.

The county is now waiting on word from the SBA whether the request for $19 million for the new school has been approved. Announcement of the awards are usually made in April.

If the funding is approved, the closure and consolidation are projected to occur with the 2023-2024 school year.