WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) — Construction for the Schoolhouse Hotel is underway in Greenbrier County. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin took a tour of the hotel to see construction and the progress of economic revitalization in White Sulphur Springs.
Manchin said bringing development and tourism opportunities to small communities will only benefit the Mountain State.
“People are moving around a lot more and there is a lot more travel, there is pent up money to be spent and they are spending their money and they want to go to places that are very unique and different than what they see in a metropolitan area,” Manchin said. “Rural West Virginia, rural America is basically what they want.”
The hotel is set to open in May and, according to developers, will be the first fully accessible boutique hotel in the world. It will feature electronic bathroom doors, accessible bar and restaurant areas and other features to meet ADA compliance.
The hotel will also show historic artifacts from the building’s time as a school. Senator Manchin helped unveil the original school bell that will be displayed in the hotel.
The construction of the hotel is part of a three-year revitalization of White Sulphur Springs following the 2016 floods. Since the beginning of efforts by the Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF), eight new businesses opened on Main Street, a majority owned or managed by women. Developers with the DOF believe the tourism industry is changing with the pandemic and West Virginia could use that to their advantage.
“Nobody really wants to get on a plane and there are so many areas around here that people can drive four or five hours, be here, they can go hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing,” Jenny Freiman, Project Manager, said.
Following the tour of the hotel, Manchin walked down Main Street to visit with local business owners to witness the economic development.