Construction for NEW OAK HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL
Temporary Collins Middle School
at Oyler Avenue OHHS Campus, Oak Hill, West Virginia
History of former Collins Middle School 601 Jones Avenue, Oak Hill, West Virginia
In the early 1950’s Oak Hill High School on School Street was replaced when a new building on Jones Avenue opened. In a deed dated November 15, 1948 by and between, George R. Collins, Helen C. Beury, Phyllis C. Waters, Amy C. Venable and Richard Venable her husband, and George R. Collins, surviving Trustee under the last will and testament of Justus Collins, parties of the first part, the New River Company (lessee), party of the second part, and the Board of Education of the County of Fayette, WV, party of the third part, property was transferred for the purpose of building a high school.
According to the deed the land was given subject to the conditions set forth:
First: that said party of the third part and its successor shall use the said tract of land solely for educational purposes, and shall erect a high school thereon, and other building in which high school activities are conducted, and shall not construct or use thereon any grade or elementary schools or buildings, as grade and elementary schools are now defined.
Second: that the said party of the third part shall name the said high school “Collins High School” and so long as the high school is maintained on the tract of land, the name shall not be changed.
Third: the party of the third part agrees that is will place on the cornerstone of the high school building, or in a suitable location in the high school building, a suitable bronze plaque stating thereon as follows: “This High School named in honor of Justus Collins (1857-1934), a pioneer coal operator of Fayette County, whose estate has donated the site on which this High School is located.”
Collins High School resided on Jones Avenue until the mid 1970’s when a new school was built on property at the Oyler Avenue exit of Rt 19 and was once again renamed Oak Hill High School. the Jones Avenue property became Collins Middle School, housing grades 5-8. Over the years schools moved towards becoming regional, and Collins Middle absorbed 5th and 6th grades from area elementary schools. The Jones Avenue campus housed Fayette County School’s largest middle school, Collins. the campus saw grades 5-8 to be separated into two buildings, one for 5th & 6th, and another for 7th & 8th.
Three administrators serve Collins. The head principal oversees two assistants, with one for the lower and one for the higher grades. 90 staff members serve Collins, with a student population of around 800.
Today the Jones Avenue property is in the process of been abandoned, as the Collins facility was deemed unsafe last year. Once consisting of five buildings, concerns grew as the Band Building collapsed under a huge snowfall, next the gym was condemned, and finally the main building was considered unsafe due to water damage from poor drainage off the roof over the years. The “back building” remained habitable, and housed the 5th dan 6th graders while seventh and eighth graders were sent to Fayetteville and Oak Hill High Schools. The summer of 2016 saw portables moved in place on the Oyler Avenue campus next to Oak Hill High, where the entire school is back in place on one campus. Plans are being laid for permanent solution to the Collins dilemma.