Hardy County Dedicates Two New High Schools

HARDY COUNTY, WV (August 26, 2015) — Dozens of Hardy County citizens joined West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and other state, federal, local representatives, and the Hardy County Board of Education to dedicate the new East Hardy High School and Moorefield High School on Friday, Aug. 21.

Dr. Michael Martirano, Superintendent of West Virginia Public Schools, did not speak from the podium on stage at the new East Hardy High School’s 250-seat auditorium. He took the microphone, walked back to the middle of the audience and spoke directly to the students.

“To whom much is given, much is expected,” he said. “There are 280,000 students in West Virginia and 1.9 million people. Many have given their time and resources. Do not squander away the wonderful gift given to you. Be in school everyday. All of you need to graduate from high school, not just some of you, all of you. This is not a school, this is a place of hope.”

Congratulating Hardy County Superintendent Barbara Whitecotton, the Hardy County Board of Education and the citizens of Hardy County, State Senator Bob Williams told the students, “this is an opportunity, not a guarantee. You have to take to the opportunity, come to school and dedicated the time to be a good student.”

Looking back, WV House of Delegates representative Isaac Sponaugle recalled the shock when news that the citizens of Hardy County had passed a $21.5 million bond. “When the Board of Education went to the School Building Authority to ask for money to build two new high schools, the director said, ‘No problem. We’ll pay for half if the citizens will pay for the other half.’ You see, only a handful of counties ever pass a levy,” Sponaugle said. “When they heard the citizens of Hardy County passed the bond, they wondered where they were going to get the money.”

As he introduced the members of the Board of Education, President Loy Kesner recalled the trepidation the board experienced in voting to put the bond on the ballot. “We had decided that at  this particular meeting, we were going to decide – do we go with the bond, or not?,” he said. “But the week before the meeting American Woodmark announced that it was closing the Moorefield plant and laying off a bunch of people. We talked about it until late and we finally decided that if we wanted to attract new business to the area, we would have to have good schools. So we voted to put the bond on the ballot. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we wanted to look toward the future and not be stuck the past.”

The school building project began in the summer of 2013 with the demolition of Moorefield High School. The school was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941. Several sections were added over the course of the next 70 years, but the majority of the original building was still in use. When construction started, the oldest section of Moorefield High School was demolished.  Approximately 21,000 SF of the existing building was renovated (including the gym, kitchen, science classrooms, and a vocational/agriculture building.)  Nearly 80,000 SF of new construction added an auxiliary gymnasium, auditorium, media center, band room, and classrooms. The cafeteria was renovated and expanded.

East Hardy High School initially opened in 1979. The building had served as a vocational center since 1974. As part of this most recent building campaign, East Hardy High School was expanded by 34,000 SF.

Winchester-based Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. served as the Construction Manager for both high schools.  Williamson Shriver Architects, Inc. of Charleston was the architect.

Source: Jean A. Flanagan / The Moorefield Examiner