9/12/18 ABSS preps for hurricane damage
ABSS preps for hurricane damage
Vulnerable roofs could mean trouble if storm stalls
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 9/12/18
Reprinted with permission.
If Hurricane Florence continues on its current path, Alamance-Burlington Schools could be dealing with severe roof damage next week.
The roofs at Broadview Middle School and Cummings High School are in the midst of being replaced by Baker Roofing Raleigh.
Assistant Superintendent for Operations Todd Thorpe told the Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11, that workers had been busy all day securing insulation on the buildings, adding additional tarping and coatings, and repairing the areas opened up for replacement work to prepare for the storm.
But it may not be enough to hold up against Florence.
“Hopefully, we’ll survive without major damages,” Thorpe said. “If we get seven to 10 inches of rain, roofs that we didn’t know were leaking will have leaks. That’s just the nature of the flat roof, the drain-type system. So we’re just hoping and praying that we stay in that three-to-four-inches-of-rain [range]. We’ve dealt with that before.”
Roofs at Sellars-Gunn Educational Center, E.M. Holt Elementary School and Graham Middle School are next on the list to be replaced, but work hasn’t started yet.
At all of the district’s 36 schools, principals have been inspecting buildings to make sure there are no loose items that could cause damage if picked up and thrown by high winds.
Thorpe said that if needed, he will visit each of site Thursday to do further inspections.
With parents calling to ask why ABSS hasn’t announced plans to cancel school, Thorpe told the board the system should be in a position to make the call by noon Wednesday.
Both he and ABSS Public Information Officer Jenny Faulkner have been in contact with the National Weather Service this week, closely monitoring the storm.
Many families depend on their children’s schools for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch, which is one reason why the school system waits until it’s absolutely certain schools need to be closed before making the call.
“We don’t want the buses or kids at school when we have high winds and this type of rain, but at the same time we want to protect the instructional time and also make sure we have kids in school because we know they’re getting meals there,” Thorpe said.
Find updates about school cancellations at the ABSS homepage, https://www.abss.k12.nc.us/, and follow the hashtag #BTNnow on twitter for live coverage from the Times-News as Hurricane Florence progresses.