The Richmond Register

August 8, 2013

Berea postpones school until Monday

Torrential rains, unsealed roof, caused leaks

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

BEREA — Late Wednesday night, as a few Berea Community School staff members were busy preparing for the start of the school year the next morning, rain water started leaking through the roof in several places causing ceiling tiles to collapse.

Superintendent Mike Hogg met with his principals and maintenance supervisor and decided to postpone school until Monday.

“Our utmost concern is for the safety of our students and staff,” Hogg said.

He sent a message to parents around 11 p.m. notifying families of the delay. For the new families who were not yet entered into the schools’ districtwide messaging system, Hogg met them at the door Thursday morning with the news.

“I have bad news and good news,” he told them. “The good news is, you have two more days of summer vacation. The bad news is, you had to wake up so early this morning.”

Around 10 p.m. Wednesday, a torrential rain fell for around 30 minutes, pooling in various areas of the roof.

Roofing contractors had been working to replace the roof since early June, but because of the amount of rainfall this summer, the job will not be complete until mid- to late-October, Hogg said.

As the roofers worked to complete the project, old pieces of roof are removed and new pieces of roof are sealed to old sections until they can be replaced.

The sections were not sealed properly, Hogg said. This caused the pooling water to leak through to the ceiling tiles. Several ceiling tiles collapsed in areas of the elementary school, cafeteria, but mostly in the middle/high school side, he said.

The roofing contractors assured the superintendent that this will not happen again, said Hogg, who thought it was in the best interest of students and staff if the next two days were used to completely clean and sanitize the areas where ceiling tiles collapsed.

Hogg has contacted the Madison County Health Department to have these areas of the school inspected.

When school is in session, the roofing contractors will begin their work after school lets out each day around 3:30 p.m. The contractors also will set up flood lights and work into the night.

And because town folk and visitors alike have always said Berea Community School resembles a spaceship, “I’ll probably get calls that the dome is lit up and that the mother ship is finally ready to take off,” Hogg joked.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.