CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind will remain in Romney.
The state Board of Education voted Thursday not to relocate the state's sole school for deaf and blind students, after months of debate about whether moving the school could save money.
The current Hampshire County location is "critical to both the welfare of the students who matriculate through these programs and to the overall vitality of the town of Romney, West Virginia," according to a resolution passed by the board at Thursday's monthly meeting.
"The care shown by the Romney community for every individual student and adult associated with the schools provides the underlying strength and fiber for the backbone of support necessary for the success of the overall mission of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind," the resolution says.
Architects had said moving the school -- which has been located in Romney since 1870 -- would cost nearly $100 million -- about $18 million more than the costs of proposed renovations to existing facilities.
All of the school's buildings are at least 20 years old and in need of roof and heating and ventilation replacements, according to school administrators.
Under the school's 10-year plan, it's estimated building demolition will cost about $500,000, with an additional $81.9 million slated for new construction and related work.
The details of a future overhaul of the school's facilities are undetermined, but at last month's state school board meeting in Romney -- where hundreds of residents showed up to support keeping the school in place -- school board President Gayle Manchin suggested that local officials research grant opportunities for the project.Reach Mackenzie Mays at Mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.