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Officials dedicate Driswood Elementary

By Staff | Oct 8, 2010

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – Saturday was a busy day and a rewarding day for Jefferson County’s public school system.

At 11 a.m., local and state officials were at the new Driswood Elementary School for its dedication, and most all those same dignitaries had been to the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Blue Ridge Primary School earlier that morning.

“This is the best looking school I’ve ever seen,” declared Pete Dougherty, president of the Jefferson County Board of Education, during dedication ceremonies of Driswood Elementary.

He praised the thoughtful and detailed design of the school, describing how teachers, service personnel and parents had met with the architects, Williamson Shriver of Charleston, to craft a very workable plan.

Dougherty pointed out the multi-tiered kitchen where the taller cooks were on the same level as the smaller students. The idea for the different levels came from the cooks, he said.

“This is a great collaboration between the state and Jefferson County,” Dougherty continued.

The West Virginia School Building Authority contributed $9.6 million to the construction of the 58,800-square-foot school on Job Corps Road, and Jefferson County’s share was $3.2 million, he said.

The land for the school was donated by Pleasants Development of Clarksburg, Md., Dougherty pointed out.

The name for the school comes from the name of the dairy farm on which the school was built. Pete and Doris Walker operated the family farm there from 1950 to 1988.

“We hit a good cycle – not a good weather cycle – a good construction cycle,” Dougherty added. “We were able to build an additional six classrooms, because it came in under budget. We were able to build six additional classrooms for $85,000. I’ll take that deal every day.”

He thanked W. Harley Miller Contractors of Martinsburg for it work building the new school.

The school’s opening was delayed one week because extremely severe winter weather disrupted construction, Dougherty said.

“The record snowfall put us a little bit behind schedule,” he said. “But we needed to push ahead and get kids out of trailers and into a quality school. It was important to open this year.”

For the first week, students attended classes and teachers taught at Sam Michael’s Park next door with the cooperation of the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission.

“We were fortunate to start at Sam Michael’s – we bonded during that week,” Principal Kelly Osborne explained to the crowd of parents, students and well-wishers assembled in the school’s cafetorium, that is cafeteria and auditorium multi-use room.

Driswood opened with 504 students in grades kindergarten through five drawn from five other schools, and during the presentation, Osborne introduced students from the five schools whose bodies contributed to Driswood’s population. Each read a short poem referring to their old school’s mascot, but described how happy they are now to be Owls, Driswood’s mascot.

The new school drew students from T.A. Lowery Elementary, C.W. Shipley Elementary, Wright Denny Elementary, North Jefferson Elementary and Page Jackson Primary schools.

Mark Manchin, executive director of the state School Building Authority, called it a great day to be a parent of a child who attends school in Jefferson County.

“I asked this one here,” Manchin said, pointing to one of the students on stage with him and other officials. “What do you like most about your new school? And she said, ‘My teacher.’ That’s what today is all about.”