The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney will get $234,950 from the state School Building Authority for a new roof, parapet repair, gutters, sprinklers and four heating and cooling units. It is surely welcome, but a fraction of what the campus needs.
Architects say the school needs about $82 million worth of repairs and renovations to various buildings. SBA Director Mark Manchin says the school will have to come up with funds from somewhere else before the SBA will contribute more.
For most schools, that would mean a contribution from the local school board. But the Schools for the Deaf and Blind are run by the state Department of Education for students from all over West Virginia. About 125 students of all ages are enrolled, from preschool through high school. Many students live on campus.
All of the school's buildings need new roofs and heating and cooling systems, administrators say. A 10-year plan includes about $500,000 worth of building demolition and $81.9 million for new construction and related.
The school was established by the Legislature in 1870, a notable commitment to the education of young people with visual and hearing impairment. The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are still a worthy responsibility of all state residents. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the Legislature should remember the school when working on the budget in the coming months.