Driving up Knight Drive in Kingwood on your way to Preston High School, it's hard not to notice the enormous construction project on the right side of the road. The site will be the home to the new Central Preston Middle School, one of many projects the school is working on.
"I would be willing to suggest, that no other school system in the state, definitely not the northern part of the state, that's doing as much construction, and has as many jobs working with construction as we do," said Dr. Larry Parsons, Preston County's Superintendent.
In 2010, Preston County voters passed a nearly $40 million bond. Since then the Board of Education has been busy spending more than $66 million on recently completed projects and current construction.
On Tuesday, groundbreaking ceremonies were held at both Valley Elementary and Bruceton Schools.
"It's exciting to have something new, but I think also safer," said Valley Elementary Principal Gregory Cummings. "This will be state-of-the-art, it will be a place where children can come and be safe, and be educated."
A more than $13 million renovation at Valley Elementary will double it in size, allowing West Preston Middle School to move down the road from Masontown into Valley where the students go to elementary school.
In Bruceton Mills, a nearly $8 million project will add on a new cafeteria, gym and new fire suppression system among other modifications.
School officials said new schools are good for morale, adding that they excite students to come and learn.
"If they have pride in the school, they'll have pride in there learning," said Bruceton School Principal David Tupper. "Academics go hand-in-hand. Academics are great here, and I think you'll see improvement of academic achievement in our students wants the new building is complete."
"I went to school my whole life," said eighth grader Destinee Loughry, "I played in that gym my whole life, I play youth league every year, grasshopper, and they deserve it, they really do."
"In this life, in my opinion, no child in a learning situation should have to settle for less than what they're entitles to, or there abilities will allow them to have," Dr. Parsons said.