SPRING MILLS, W.Va. — Spring Mills High School — so far the largest high school built in West Virginia with state financial support — was dedicated Wednesday, with help from West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and local school leaders.
Nearly half of the seats in the new school’s 750-seat auditorium were filled with guests who heard remarks from Tomblin; Mark A. Manchin, executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority; William F. Queen, president of the Berkeley County School Board; Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon; and his brother, Principal Mark Arvon.
The new 250,000-square-foot high school was built on the Spring Mills campus in northern Berkeley County off U.S. 11.
The campus opened in 1998 with the dedication of Potomack Intermediate School. Added since then were Spring Mills Middle in 2004, Spring Mills Primary in 2011 and now Spring Mills High School.
The cardinal, West Virginia’s state bird, is the new school’s mascot.
The two-story high school, the county’s fourth after Martinsburg, Hedgesville and Musselman, has a capacity of 1,500 students.
It brings to 31 the number of schools operating in the district, including nine built since 1996, reflecting the county’s quick growth in recent decades.
The school opens Aug. 19 for grades nine through 11.
Seniors from its two feeder high schools, Martinsburg and Hedgesville, will stay where they are and graduate with their current classes.
Marc Arvon said 600 students will transfer from Hedgesville High to Spring Mills High, and about 160 will move in from Martinsburg High.
“Some Martinsburg High students will go to the Hedgesville High School,” he said.
Manny Arvon said the school district was able to eliminate the use of some portable classrooms at Martinsburg High School as a result of the opening of Spring Mills High.
Spring Mills High will take in graduating eighth-graders from Spring Mills Middle School.
Mark Arvon, who was principal of Spring Mills Middle until this year, said the new high school will have a staff of 104 employees, including 84 teachers.
In his remarks, Manny Arvon noted his appreciation of Berkeley County voters who approved a $53 million bond issue by the largest vote margin ever — 64 percent.
“Thank you citizens of Berkeley County. This celebrates you as a community,” he said.
Manny Arvon said he has seen 36 major construction projects since he became superintendent 17 years ago.
“When you walk into this school, you will see that instruction has driven construction,” he said. “It’s designed to develop critical thinking skills for students. Every area provides a learning opportunity.”
Tomblin said the new high school “is a state-of-the-art facility with high-tech advancements for classroom learning.”
“As kids put on their backpacks, not only here at this beautiful new high school but across the Mountain State, you will see a number of major changes taking place in the classroom,” Tomblin told attendees.
“We’re working to make sure that high school students don’t spend the first year in college spending their time or money on remedial classes. Now all 11th-grade students will be tested on what they know, so we can help them where they are struggling.”