ELKVIEW, W.Va. — The newly built Herbert Hoover High School is opening its doors on schedule for students to officially walk through them for the first time Friday morning.
After attending classes in portable facilities for seven years following the devastating flood that destroyed the former Herbert Hoover High, the students will now be taking them in a 180,000 square foot modern, state-of-the-art building.
The media was given a first look at the new building Thursday before the halls will be filled with students the following day.
Herbert Hoover High Principal Michael Kelley said he’s still trying to wrap his head around finally reaching the point of completion.
“We’ve been peddling really hard since 2016, trying to get up and running after the flood, get the portables built, continue to do work in the portables, and we’re still peddling hard right now,” said Kelley.
The building comes complete with modern classrooms, an auditorium, two gymnasiums, a weight room, a medical unit that will limit out-of-school doctor visits, and a media and collaboration hub that takes the place of a library.
“Now we not only have the equipment and technology that we need but we also have the facility that’s conducive to the use of these modern tools that the kids are using now,” Kelley said.
One portion of the multi-million dollar school is all dedicated to athletics’ and the arts, with athletics occupying one side and music and arts on the other.
There’s also an entire career and technical center right in the building, as well, where students will make use of the 3D printers and other machinery to make projects for various entities. Some of the features of the school were designed by the program.
The rest of the building was constructed by Williamson Shriver Architects, which Kelley said who’s previous school building designs inspired Herbert Hoover’s new look.
Kelley said while it’s still not 100% complete and they still have to get used to the daily operations of the new building, its various systems, among other technical details, he said they’re as ready as they will ever be to start getting accustomed to it.
“It’s not going to be as perfect as I would like it to be on day one but the mistakes we make on day one we’ll try to fix them and be better on day two, and the good news is that our students, our staff and our community have gotten very good at adapting,” he said.
Kelley said they’ve had so many new takers vying to now attend Herbert Hoover they actually had to put a hold on the out-of-area transfers, with 40 alone in the last couple of weeks.
He said while they all must get oriented to the building it’s mostly back to business as usual Friday and it will function as a regular first day of school for the 75 staff members and nearly 800 students.
“We will adapt to this and we will have this thing perfect in due time,” said Kelley, “There’s going to be a time when all of the contractors are gone and we’ve gotten comfortable with how to manage the building and everything that goes with that, there are a million moving parts in a school, so we’ll be excited for that time when it comes.”
Herbert Hoover will be host to a ribbon-cutting event for the school on Saturday where several dignitaries and Brad Paisley himself will be in attendance.
It will consist of a scrimmage game with Paisley’s alma mater John Marshall followed by a performance by Paisley. The event will get underway at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the game will start at 5:45 p.m.