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Putnam school growth is manageable, Hatfield says

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Putnam County Schools continue to see steady growth in enrollment, which Superintendent Chuck Hatfield told board members Monday night he believes is manageable given the county's history of crowded schools.

While Hatfield said the growth is manageable and pretty much evenly distributed countywide, there is some concern in the Scott Depot and Teays Valley area.

For the past several years, about 100 to 150 new students have enrolled countywide, Hatfield said.

"It's very sustainable, but manageable," Hatfield said.

In the early 1990s, Putnam's population was increasing at a much faster rate and it was more difficult to keep a handle on overcrowding.

Then, schools had trouble keeping up with growth and the county was forced to use about 100 trailer-like portable classrooms.

During the past few years, though, the county has slowly eliminated portables with funding from the state School Building Authority to renovate and build new schools.

In 2008, Mountain View Elementary in Hurricane opened to alleviate overcrowding issues at West Teays and Scott Teays Elementary schools. But currently, Hatfield said, West Teays has more than 600 students. Scott Teays and Mountain View both have about 450.

"We like to keep it within 500 or so," Hatfield said, noting there is plenty of room for the large student body at West Teays.

"It's just something we'll continue to monitor, especially West Teays, we'll keep an eye on, but right now there aren't any overcrowding issues," he said.

In other business, Hatfield told board members that Poca Middle School students will move from the old school to the new building in December, when elementary students move to the newly renovated school.

Elementary students had been housed in the new Poca Middle School since the beginning of this school year while their elementary school was being renovated.

The old Poca Middle, built in 1926, will be demolished to make room for additional parking.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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