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    Estill County Middle School needs funding for new building

    By Vasi Prokos,

    25 days ago

    IRVINE, Ky. ( FOX 56 ) — A school in Estill County is on the move, but not in a good way.

    Leaders in Estill County want lawmakers to come up with money to build a new middle school because the current one is shifting.

    Estill County Middle School is built on a foundation that contains a lot of shale, causing the building to heave upward.


    Inside its classrooms and halls are cracked floors and walls.

    “Safety of our students is our main priority so, when I came on the job, I got a tour of this building in August to really start to look at what was going on, and so immediately we got a structural engineer, and, to make sure that it was safe for kids, we make sure that they monitor it on a regular basis. We’re not going to put the kids in any unsafe situation whatsoever,” said Superintendent Charlie Brock.

    The school is built on pyritic shale, meaning the floor is not sinking; it’s heaving.

    “What happens is when it gets exposed to water or air, it expands, and the expansion underneath the floor and underneath the shale walls, kind of lifts it up,” Brock said.

    Brock says the school has moved since the day it opened in the 90s, but teachers and staff told him that it’s become more frequent in the last year and a half.

    “There was a lawsuit back then, they came in, redid a whole bunch of stuff. The litigation was completed, and they determined that it wouldn’t move anymore, but it just kept moving,” Brock said.

    Brock says their next step is looking for money to build a new school.

    “We also want to be proactive because we know that as it’s moving, we’re not sure how long it’s going to last and we’re going to have to have a new school. Construction takes two and a half to three years to build a new school,” Brock said

    As of now, engineers say the school is still structurally safe and not a danger to students. But Brock says he has been working with both the state education department and legislators to access funding for a new school as soon as they can.

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    “I’ve been working with both since last fall, they’ve been helpful, they’ve listened. We may have some emergency funding we have access to, but it’s not enough to build a new building. So, I’m hoping that we can go and get access to that to start the planning process, and then they’ll come back in January and give us the rest of what we need,” Brock said.

    There are currently two classes that the school does not use at all due to damage to floors and walls.

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