KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WCHS) — There are remnants of old schools in the Montgomery area, like the rubble of the old middle school and former high school that recently caught fire. The old Valley High School in Smithers, closed in 2019, is now Pre-K through 8.
In the last three years, families like C.J. McKenzie’s have been travelling farther for school. Currently, high schoolers in the area travel to either Riverside or Fayette County.
“We usually came from three miles, to now it’s what, 30, possibly? It is kind of difficult, worrying about her driving day to day,” McKenzie said.
That commute could get shorter for some.
Montgomery Preparatory Academy, a private school for grades 6-12, will open Aug. 22. It will go in the former east wing of the old Montgomery High School. The west wing is expected to house incoming business Ranger Scientific.
The main high school building was torn down to make room for a parking lot.
CEO Daniel Puder currently operates schools like it in Florida. His goal is to enroll at least 50 students in the first year.
“We’re going to get into teaching a skillset with classes that are outside of the box,” Puder said. “A student can get really interested in something that is their passion and they can start making money if they want before they graduate high school. I believe you go to school for two reasons: One is to learn how to learn, the processes and systems. Number two is to network and build relationships.”
Puder said they are waiving the registration fee this year for those that get on the HOPE Scholarship. He said the school will continue even if the HOPE Scholarship goes away.
“The Hope Scholarship, we have about $4,200, I think, into our school. Our cost is going to be about $7,000,” Perdue estimated. “We’re going to waive that extra from the $4,200 to the $7,000 and then we’re also going to waive the registration fees.”