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Legislature honors Parkersburg High School building


The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va.  — The centennial of the main building of Parkersburg High School was recognized in the West Virginia Legislature on Tuesday.

A resolution commemorating the centennial of the main building at Parkersburg High School was introduced Tuesday in the Legislature where Sens. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, and Mike Azinger, R-Wood, spoke about the school.

“It was pretty special,” said Principal Kenny DeMoss.

Senate Resolution 58 cites how Parkersburg High was founded in 1867, making it among the oldest high schools in West Virginia.

The resolution was introduced by Sens. Boley, Azinger, Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, Ron Stollings, D-Boone, John Unger, D-Berkeley, and Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.

Parkersburg High is the second-largest populated school in West Virginia and has the largest high school campus in the state, the resolution said.

The three-story Tudor-style structure is in the Parkersburg High School-Washington Avenue Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

A similar resolution was prepared in the House of Delegates but without the floor action, DeMoss said. Legislators are nearing the end of the session and have been involved in numerous meetings over the budget.

Azinger said several people associated with Parkersburg High School attended the proceedings in the Senate.

DeMoss led the delegation that included Parkersburg High School Foundation members Bob Marshall and Sue Steinbeck, former Principals Sam Goots and Bill Niday, who also retired as superintendent of schools in Wood County, Parkersburg High counselor Maggie Ohneck, teacher Sandra DeBarr, retired athletic director Jim Hamric and retired teacher Ken Gilbert.

Parkersburg High started as a four-room school on Seventh Street. It cost $6,000 and was located at the present-day Uptowner.

The existing structure cost $675,000, including the grounds, building and equipment. Site selection was organized by Charles Elliott Van Devender, president of the Board of Education and the namesake of VanDevender Middle School.

The location at that time was a swamp with cattails and snakes and was not as popular with some people as it was with VanDevender and the school board. The opposing side burned Van Devender in effigy on Seventh Street in front of the old high school.

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