Old Clendenin school opens for senior living, clinic

Chip Ellis
A crowd flows into the newly renovated Riverview at Clendenin School facility at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon. The facility offers affordable senior housing and a regional health clinic.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For years it was empty and abandoned, but Wednesday afternoon marked a rebirth for a former Clendenin school.Riverview at Clendenin School was officially opened, signifying the ceremonial completion of a $5 million project to renovate the old school.The building, located on Koontz Avenue, is now home to 18 units of senior housing and an expansion of Cabin Creek Health Care's Clendenin clinic.The building was donated by the Kanawha County Board of Education.Several agencies were involved in the renovation including AU Associates, a Lexington, Ky. development firm; Terrell Ellis and Associates, and nonprofit group 25045-A New Clendenin Inc.Project consultant Ellis told those gathered at the ribbon-cutting that many said they could not revitalize the building.But they did, with the help of a slew of state and federal funds and historic tax credits.Funding sources included $1.2 million from USDA Rural Development, $2.7 million in state funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and $1 million in state and federal historic tax credits. Poca Valley Bank provided financing for construction.
"This is a great day for Clendenin," said Jack Suttle, president of 25045-A New Clendenin. "We've accomplished a lot."Suttle said that the goal was to make the school into something that would benefit the whole area. The senior housing and clinic fits the bill because it gives older residents a place to live so they can potentially sell their homes to younger families who are moving to the area. The expansion of the clinic boosts the economy and adds jobs, he said.Clendenin Mayor Robert Ore called the project the most beneficial thing to happen to the town since the school closed in 1963.When the school was open, the town was home to many teachers, students and school staff members, he explained."When they closed the school over time they all really moved out," Ore said. "We haven't had any single event that would parallel this. We think it's going to be significant. We're a small town but we think that it's going to make a difference."The clinic will bring people and business into the town, he said.The clinic has increased its staff from 11 to 24. The staff at Riverview will include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, a full-time behavior health consultant and a pharmacy staff.
The senior living apartments have amenities that include secure entry to the building, help/call buttons in bathroom and bedrooms; on-site laundry; microwaves, and wiring for cable, telephone and Internet.Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.
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