After months of repairs, Lovett Elementary School is scheduled to re-open for class in August. The Clinton Public School District's sixth-grade school closed in mid-March after a devastating hailstorm left the building inoperable.
"We were holding a faculty meeting the afternoon the storm hit," said Principal Mike Pope. "One of the teachers came in and said the windows were broken out in the cafeteria. Within minutes, it was raining inside the building and we rushed to cover all the computers and electronic equipment." The baseball-sized hail perforated the roof so badly that there were leaks in every classroom, he said. "There was no way we could hold school here," he said.
Students were temporarily relocated to other campuses and emergency cleaning crews called. After a week at the temporary sites, students and faculty were moved to the old Eastside school on Easthaven Drive to finish out the semester.
"We knew the roof had to be replaced, but anytime that much water gets in a building you have to look at the ceilings, the floor tiles and the walls, not to mention your wiring and electrical equipment," Pope said.
The overall cost of repairs was $1,010,000, with the majority covered by insurance. Although the work is not complete significant progress has been made. Pope said he plans to hold registration at the old Eastside campus, but classes will begin Aug. 12 at the Lovett school building.
"It's taken longer than we hoped but it really looks great," he said. "It's much brighter now. There is fresh paint on the walls and ceilings, and new lighting." Dr. Phil Burchfield, superintendent of schools, said the hailstorm was a setback but Lovett teachers and students didn't lose focus.
"Instruction and learning continued throughout this process," he said. "We had strong support from parents and our community the entire time. I'm proud of Lovett for finishing the school year strong."
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