Teachers to return to flood-damaged school - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Teachers to return to flood-damaged school

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It's getting to be back to school time, but for one Marion County school, it's more of a challenge.

Flash flooding ravaged South Pittsburg Elementary School and the cleanup process is keeping teachers from getting in the building. They were expecting to get back in Monday, but didn't.   

Marion County Director of Schools Mark Griffith did a walk-thru Monday morning and decided they could use one more day of cleanup before letting teachers in.

He says the more than 40 teachers are anxious to ready their classrooms for students, but once they're allowed inside, their first task is assessing damage.

Water stain lines on classroom furniture show how high the rushing water got inside South Pittsburg Elementary on July 10. It receded as fast as it rose but left a major mess behind.

"Think we're still going to be in the ballpark, as a whole, of probably about half a million to a million dollars," Griffith said.

The gym floor had to be ripped out, as well as tiles in the hallways and several classrooms. All the work has kept teachers from prepping their rooms.

"Things were not what we wanted them to be in some areas, such as the floors and some of the base boards were starting to come off that they put there on Friday," Griffith said.

So now they're gluing those back on, but Griffith says they've still made progress much quicker than expected.

"I didn't think it would look like this now, I'll be honest with you," he said.

Once the teachers get in their rooms, they'll have to see what computers, books, and furniture are a total loss so they can submit the claims to insurance.

School is on schedule to begin August 12th, as planned.

"We've had a crew working through the night every night getting ready for this, so hopefully by the time we have registration August 8th, we'll be ready to go," South Pittsburg Elementary School Principal Donna Blansett said.

Griffith says contractors will likely be done in the hallways and classrooms by the first day of school. If not, they'll only do work after hours. The gym is expected to take a month to complete, so workers will be in there during the day, but it will be completely closed off from students.
The cafeteria equipment was also affected, so they're working to sanitize everything in there, too.

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