CAMERON - For decades, the Cameron High and Middle School complex has been nestled into the downtown area, taking up what Mayor Mark Frazier has called "the biggest flat surface in the city."
Now, with a new complex poised to open just outside the city limits, city officials and residents said they are anxious to see the dream of a state-of-the-art building finally become a reality.
The new complex has cost $31.4 million to build, with the majority of the funding coming from the West Virginia School Building Authority. In granting the funding the SBA called the facility a "gem" of the Northern Panhandle. Ground was broken on the project in September 2009, with the majority of the work beginning in 2010. In addition to Project Construction Services and McKinley and Associates, the project has been worked on by crews from Nello Construction Co., Kalkreuth Roofing, Grae-Con Construction, Kucera Plumbing, Scalise Industries and Erb Electric.
Scheduled for completion this year, the new Cameron High and Middle School complex will provide a state-of-the-art education for students in grades seven through 12. The complex was paid for through state School Building Authority funding and through the passage of a bond by county residents.
Officials said the building will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, meaning several steps were taken during the construction to reduce energy costs. Additionally, the building will have several large walls of windows in an effort to conserve energy, as well as a chilled beam HVAC system that will pay for itself in just a few years.
The project has been delayed several times due to inclement weather, missing an expected completion date of November 2011. However, school officials now have their eyes set on a summer move-in date with students stepping through the doors for classes the first week of August.
Councilman Tom Hart said city residents are excited and anxious for the school to open. He said in addition to the normal excitement that comes with a new school or building, city officials are hopeful the school will help the city in many other ways.
"To have a state-of-the-art facility right here will be big for the community," he said. "People are anxious to see it once it is finally completed."
Hart said the new school has the potential to attract more families and students from other areas, which could lead to new businesses within the community.