Students dealing with changes following floodSeptember 23, 2021
By CANDY NEAL
DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois Intermediate School students are adapting to the temporary changes that had to be done following the Aug. 30 flooding of their school.
“There are new challenges that go along with with all the changes that we’re doing,” Principal Ryan Case said Wednesday. “They’re doing really well with it. It stinks, figuratively and literally, I guess. But, we’re going to make the best of it.”
On that day, Dubois received torrential rains, which flooded the streets, overflowed ditches and flooded some buildings, including the intermediate school.
“The main two pieces that we lost were the cafeteria and the gym,” Case said, “so where they eat every day, and where they have PE (physical education) and ballgame practices. We also lost our art room. We lost our music room; and with music, we had a piano lab where they go down and practice the piano.”
The art and music rooms have been relocated. Students are eating at their desks or at picnic tables and they’re doing more physical education outside during nice weather, Case told the Northeast Dubois School Board Tuesday evening.
The board saw a video showing some of the flooding from inside the school as it happened, including the kitchen, cafeteria/multipurpose room and basement. That video is now on the district’s Facebook page.
“As you can see, there’s quite extensive damage,” Superintendent Bill Hochgesang said. “I think we have a fairly long process ahead of us of putting things back.”
Cleaners have been on site daily and on the weekends cleaning the areas that were flooded, Case told the school board.
Several insurance adjusters and engineers have also been on site to assess the damage, including those for mechanical and structural inventory. The school hired an engineer to make sure the building was safe for the cleanup, Case said.
“Temporary structures were built,” he said. “We did have a wall cave in the basement. So we had a temporary wall built to make sure the gym was stable.”
“This is going to be a long process,” Case said, agreeing with Hochgesang. “It won’t be settled quickly.”
Hochgesang asked that an architect be hired to assess and give ideas of how the damaged areas should be redesigned to avoid something like this from happening again.
“I think the biggest mistake we can make is if we put it back to exactly how it was,” Hochgesang said, “because I think we’re prone to same type of flooding. It could occur again.”
Case hopes the students will be back to having lunch in the cafeteria sometime next month.
“We’ve got to make sure the fire system works,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got to make sure that the floor is clean. We’ve got to make sure that air quality is good.” So far, those have been cleared, he said.
“We’re going to be bringing stuff from the high school down. It’s not like we can cook anything in there,” Case said. “The carpet or the flooring won’t be down; it’ll just be bare concrete. So it will be a clean, rough structure. But at least we won’t be eating at our desks or at picnic tables.”
The students have been doing well with the changes.
“I would not like to be in one room all day. So we’ve got to get them up and moving around,” Case said. “But they’re doing great. They’re being great.”
The board also:
• Approved the 2022 capital projects and bus replacement budgets.
• Held a public hearing to get comments about the annual teacher contract agreement; there were no comments.
• Was reminded that fall break will be Oct. 18 to 22.
• Agreed to move the next school board meeting to Tuesday, Oct. 26, after fall break. The meeting will start at 7 p.m at the school district’s office, 5379 E. Main St.
• Heard when parent-teacher conferences will be held. The conferences for the Northeast Dubois Junior-Senior High School will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 30. Northeast Dubois Intermediate School will hold conferences from 3:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 12. Northeast Dubois Elementary School will hold conferences from 3:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 14. Parents can have a conference meeting in person on on Zoom.
• Learned that custodian Carla Wagner has resigned.
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