CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Joe Manchin today joined state legislators, representatives from the West Virginia School Building Authority and Charles Annenberg Weingarten, vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation, to announce plans to build a new school that will replace Marsh Fork Elementary near Naoma, W.Va., in Raleigh County.
The Annenberg Foundation has pledged $2.5 million to begin the construction of the new school, which county officials have estimated will cost about $8.6 million. Along with the Annenberg gift, the West Virginia School Building Authority will contribute $2.6 million. The Raleigh County Board of Education and Massey Energy Co. previously had pledged $1 million each to the school project, however, following the Annenberg Foundation pledge, both the school board and Massey Energy will increase their funding to $1.5 million each for the school.
The governor said the Annenberg Foundation’s gift is extremely kind and will benefit the young people of Raleigh County. “Charles Annenberg and the entire Annenberg Foundation have made a remarkable pledge that will bring a new dimension to the quality of learning at Marsh Fork. I applaud their efforts and willingness to help move education forward for the young people in southern West Virginia.”
Charles Annenberg Weingarten said, “Every child deserves to be in a safe, healthy and productive environment. Consistent with the Annenberg Foundation’s long-standing support of public education, I am pleased to announce that we will support the effort to relocate and rebuild Marsh Fork Elementary School on behalf of my team at EXPLORE and my fellow family members of the Board of Directors at the Annenberg Foundation, I am pledging a grant of $2.5 million. We look forward to seeing a new building in a safe location."
Rick Snuffer, president of the Raleigh County Board of Education said, “The gift from the Annenberg Foundation will give limitless possibilities to future generations of Marsh Fork area children. This marks a first in West Virginia schools in which the county school system, private business, state government, a community organization and a private foundation have partnered to provide the funding for a state-of-the-art school. Raleigh County Schools is grateful to all of them for their generosity and kindness for our children.”
The governor added, “This is an unprecedented partnership to put our children first. A lot of people came together, brought their chips to the table and said, ‘We are going to make this happen.’ I truly appreciate the commitment and am glad to be a part of this project. I want to personally thank the Annenberg Foundation, the West Virginia School Building Authority, the school board, the Pennies of Promise community organization, our legislators, Massey Energy and the people of the Marsh Fork community for stepping up to construct this safer and more modern school.”
Jama Jarrett or Melvin Smith