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New life for former First Ward school

December 21, 2011
The Inter-Mountain

The former First Ward Elementary School has sat vacant for decades. After it closed to students in the late 1970s, it was used for storage by the Randolph County Board of Education.

Now the historical structure has a chance for new life and to serve as a home for others.

On Monday, members of Citizens for Historical, Opportunity, Preservation and Education announced that the group has joined forces with AU Associates and the Randolph County Housing Authority to restore the former school into a 16-unit senior citizen housing facility.

What's most pleasing about the project is that the building will maintain much of its original character in accordance with guidelines of the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. This means the hardwood flooring in the hallways, intricate moulding and majestic twin staircases will return to their beauty of days gone by.

It's not just the look of the building that's reminiscent of Elkins' past. According to C-HOPE, the materials used to construct it in 1909 - hand-cut sandstone, brick and native hardwoods - were products of the local area.

We commend the organizations working to return a part of Elkins' past to its future, and look forward to seeing the finished project.



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