The future for Romney’s West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind — uncertain only a month ago — is looking bright.
The state Board of Education had considered moving the schools, which have been located in Romney since 1870, to another location in the state. But architects said moving the schools would cost nearly $100 million, about $18 million more than the costs of proposed renovations to existing facilities. The state board voted in early October to scrap plans to move the school.
Now plans are moving ahead to speed up renovations or reconstruction of the schools’ residential centers. An amendment to the facilities plan will be voted on in December, clearing the way for the renovation.
Additionally, several Hampshire County residents have met with Mark Gandolfi, chief financial officer of the schools, to discuss an endowment fund.
The fund could be used for capital projects on the campus.
Hampshire County residents rallied around the schools when the proposal was made to relocate. In deciding to keep the schools in Romney, the state board passed a resolution stating, “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.”
All of the schools’ buildings are at least 20 years old and in need of roof and heating and ventilation replacements, according to school administrators.
Now that the decision has been made to keep the complex in Romney, we hope the state will take prompt action in upgrading the facilities.
The schools have a rich tradition of educating deaf and blind students from throughout West Virginia. In order to continue that mission, upgrading buildings and infrastructure is of paramount importance.