WHITEHALL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On the evening of August 24, storms pounded the Whitehall School District with over 6 inches of rain. Along with the coronavirus pandemic, the high school now faces new challenges.
Whitehall Superintendent Patrick Dee says they were counting down the days for a new school year to begin.
“We were ready to roll and ready to be open on September 8. But that has certainly come to a screeching halt,” he said.
Dee says he was blown away after seeing the school the day after the storm.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing I had never seen that much water,” he recalled.
One week later, cleanup still continues after the storm completely flooded inside of the school. Dee says they still have a long way to go. The water damaged most of the schools flooring and ceilings. The pool, gym, library, auditorium, and many of the classrooms also had extensive damage.
“We definitely lost our gym floor,” he explained. “It has started to buckle and come up at many spots. We need to have a two-foot flood cut to remove the standing water that we believe is inside the cavity of the walls.”
He says throughout the summer they have been working on their $19 million expansion project. Many of that new construction work was ruined by the storm and is now at a standstill.
Dee says he is hoping the insurance companies will cover all the damages. But he says at least 12 weeks of cleanup are expected to get things back to normal.
He says the school’s Chromebooks and other pieces of technology were not damaged during the storm. They will be used for remote learning. For now, he says the high school is back to being fully remote.
Dee says if this would of happened any other year they wouldn’t have been ready.
“We would of not been prepared to do any of type remote instruction last year that we are prepared to do this year,” he said.
The Whitehall Elementary School only had minimal damage from the storm. They are expected to open on September 8. As for the high school, Dee says they are hoping November.
Dee says 2020 has been a rough year, and it has now gotten a little tougher.
“We are strong, and we will be okay,” he said.
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