Dignitaries, school officials and past and present students of Eastside High School prepare to cut the ribbon for the official dedication of the newly refurbished facility in Coeburn on Monday. Photo by Stephen Igo.
COEBURN — Students and teachers have been settling into their refurbished surroundings since mid-August, but formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies supplied the finishing touch to Eastside High School in Coeburn on Monday.
The $8.5 million renovation project began at the conclusion of the 2011-12 school year. Students and teachers relocated to the old St. Paul High School last school year so that significant improvements could overhaul a school that opened in 1955 as Coeburn High School.
Eastside is part of Wise County’s $60 million high school consolidation project that merged St. Paul’s student body with Coeburn. Three high schools — St. Paul, Pound and Appalachia — were closed. Pound was merged with the high school in Wise and Appalachia with the former Powell Valley High School in Big Stone Gap.
The three remaining high schools were renamed, adopted new mascots, school colors and the works. Another aspect of the consolidation format is a new Central High School is being built in Wise and a new Union High School in Big Stone Gap. Both the new facilities are slated to open in January.
But it was Eastside’s day on Monday before an impressive turnout for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Eastside Principal Dante Lee heaped special praise on his staff who worked tirelessly before the beginning of this school year so students and teachers could return from St. Paul as planned.Read more in Tuesday’s print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.