OK Schools Still Dealing With Storm Damage As First Day Approaches

Monday, August 1st 2016, 7:22 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

As we get close to the first day of school, crews are still cleaning up hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of storm damage at Oklahoma schools.

In Coweta, holes in the roof of the Junior High School, caused by last month’s storm, left a mess inside a few classrooms. They’re working to clean it all up before students return on August 11th.

Two other school buildings - the Mission Intermediate Grade Center and the Old Ricky Brian Field House - had air-conditioning units blow off the roofs, causing some damage.

Junior high principal, Scott Kempenich, said they’re working to make sure everything is in order for the first day of school, and he’s confident things will be ready.

"Almost every day since the storm we've had someone come in here and fixin’ stuff up. Today we got drywall going in. So we're gonna be ready. By the time kids get here, we'll be rollin’,” Kempenich said.

And the Glenpool School District has even more work on its back-to-school list after storms tore off the roof of a building, damaging classrooms.

The most serious damage the district is dealing with is at the Middle School. And while the school waits to hear back from its insurance provider, it came up with some solutions to get everything ready after the July 14th storm.

"The roof was ripped off the middle school and was thrown onto another building and a house in a neighborhood, so extensive damage," Superintendent Jerry Olansen said.

He said the school is waiting on answers from the insurance provider before repairs are made.

"If we just put a roof back on, it's gonna take a month or two just to do that,” the superintendent said. “If we have to replace the building - of course, we're talking a long-term situation there."

But with each passing day on the calendar, teachers don't have time to wait for a long-term situation.

One way everyone is preparing for the first day of school is turning rooms, like the computer lab, into classrooms. Eli Linton is one of six teachers making a move.

"It is smaller. It's smaller than my other classroom, but that's okay, we're just gonna make it work, and it's what we got for right now, and I'll figure out a creative way to make it work for everybody,” he said.

Linton's expecting 25 to 30 students in his Culture and Geography class. Right now, there aren't enough desks for his seventh graders, but Linton said he and the five other teachers moving into new classrooms are staying optimistic.

"Not everything is gonna be ready in two weeks,” Linton said, “so we're ready and focused and just keeping each other's spirits up is really what we're doing."

The superintendent said the district should hear from the insurance provider sometime this week.

He said, no matter what, school will start on time on the 17th.

Cleaning efforts are still on-going in Broken Arrow, as well, after a storm ripped through the city two weeks ago.

Crews are picking up tree limbs in every neighborhood. You can place greenwaste at the curb. It’s all free, but pickup should take several weeks to complete.