Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment
Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School – Cherry River
The School Building Authority (SBA), in conjunction with the Nicholas County Board of Education (NCBOE), has applied through the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM) to the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant program for funding assistance, under the Presidentially Declared Disaster FEMA-DR-4273-WV, for the replacement of Richwood Middle and High School. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed construction of a new middle school and high school to replace the damaged Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School, outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), central West Virginia experienced intense convection storms along a stationary front on June 23, 2016. The stalled movement of the storms led many areas to receive up to 10 inches of rainfall within 24 hours, producing a 1,000-year storm event. The intense rainfall resulted in widespread flash flooding, claiming 23 lives and crippling the state with substantial damage to residences, commercial structures, and public infrastructure. Statewide, the flood event damaged more than two dozen schools in 10 counties, including three schools in the Gauley River Watershed of Nicholas County: Summersville Middle School, Richwood Middle School, and Richwood High School. Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School were determined to be substantially damaged and, as such, were deemed eligible for replacement under the FEMA PA grant program.
Due to the location of the damaged Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School buildings within the floodway, reconstruction of the schools on the original site would not alleviate the risk of future flooding. Therefore, FEMA proposes to fund the replacement of the original Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School with a new school facility at a location outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The new schools are needed to provide middle and high school classroom education in the City of Richwood by providing permanent facilities that are safe, accessible, and meet all applicable codes and standards.
Alternatives discussed in this EA include properties both within and adjacent to the city limits of Richwood. Under the Proposed Action Alternative, Richwood Middle School and Richwood High School would be replaced with comparable facilities at a new location, 190 Riverside Drive, Richwood, West Virginia. The proposed action would impact approximately 7.8 acres of the 9.7-acre site. Coordinates for the center of the subject property are 38.218939 latitude, -80.553567 longitude. The proposed site meets all the requirements listed under WVDE Policy 6200.
The Draft EA has been prepared in accordance with all requirements of NEPA, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Executive Order 11988 (“Floodplain Management”), Executive Order 11990 (“Protection of Wetlands”), and the implementing regulations of FEMA, for the purpose of assessing the potential impacts of the Proposed Action on the human and natural environment. The Draft EA summarizes the purpose of and need for the project, alternatives considered, the affected environment, and potential environmental consequences of the project. It is available for review and comment and can be viewed on and/or downloaded from FEMA’s website at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4273. Printed copies are also available for viewing or photocopying at the following location:
- Richwood Public Library
8 White Ave
Richwood, WV 26261
Monday-Tuesday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wednesday: Closed; Thursday-Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday: Closed.
A public meeting on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be held July 17, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Cherry River Elementary, located at 190 Riverside Dr, Richwood, WV 26261. The meeting will provide an overview of the Draft Environmental Assessment and allow an in-person opportunity to submit public comments and ask questions.
The comment period will conclude 30 days after the initial publication of this Public Notice on July 4, 2019. Written comments on the Draft EA can be mailed or emailed to the contact listed below. If no substantive comments are received, the Draft EA and associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will become final. Substantive comments received will be addressed as appropriate in the Final EA/FONSI.
FEMA Regional Environmental Office, Region III
615 Chestnut St, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
FEMA works to ensure that information is accessible for all of our customers. If you are having issues obtaining any of the graphical information presented in the appendices, please contact us by email at FEMA-R3-EHP-PublicComment@fema.dhs.gov, so we may provide it in an accessible format.