Fayette Co. BOE Says Town of Fayetteville ‘Backed Out’ of Paying for PK-8’s Playground Installation

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va (WOAY) – The equipment for a new playground at Fayetteville PK-8 that has been sitting outside for weeks may soon get assembled now that the Fayette County Board of Education has taken over.

At the beginning of the school year, the old Fayetteville High School became Fayetteville PreK-8. Because it was an old high school, it did not have a playground. That’s where parents, community members, businesses and even the town itself pitched in to fundraise and buy the equipment.

According to Fayette County Superintendent Terry George, some money came in from the board and the schools’ levy fund. Then the problem arose when it was time to figure out who would pay to install it. 

“They had an agreement with the City of Fayetteville to install the equipment to supervise the installation,” George said. “At this point, about two weeks ago,  the City of Fayetteville backed out and said that they couldn’t complete the project. At that point Mr. [Tim] Payton took it upon himself to secure bids and we will select the company that will professionally install the playground equipment as quickly as possible.” 

After months into the school year and after almost a year of knowing about the consolidation, parents like Jenny Hall say this is something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. 

“I think I’m frustrated with the Board of Education,” Hall said. “They dropped the ball so many times on our community. I just feel like they should have prioritized this a long time ago. They should have been making sure that this was done. They had their eyes on other priorities that they shouldn’t have been. And I think they really dropped the ball.”

But schools officials are asking for patience as they’ve had to deal with the sudden changes and go from there.

“We have our students’ best interests at heart,” Fayetteville PK-8 Principal Melissa Harrah said. “We want them to have that playground as much as parents do, and we were trying to maximize the amount of equipment that we can provide for our students. In the long run, they are going to have a wonderful playground . It’s just we’ve taken a different path.” 

And that different path means the school board is now taking bids until Monday and from there the hope is that a company, or two, will be able to install the equipment that has been on the ground at the school for the two new playgrounds. 

We reached out to the Town of Fayetteville for clarification on why they backed out, but have yet to receive a response. The Board of Education said they did not receive an explanation from the town.

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