By Shannon Houston
Central Point school officials say they may lose the use of a large portion of Crater High School for the remainder of the year, after a water main break flooded the school and closed it for a week.
As a result of the recent flooding, the space previously occupied by one of its three small schools, the Crater Renaissance Academy, is unusable and will require extensive repairs.
“We’re prepared for the worst,” said Randy Gravon, Central Point School District superintendent. Gravon said the district did not yet have an estimate on how long the section of school would be off-limits to students.
The remainder of the Central Point school is set to reopen on Tuesday, and Renaissance Academy students will be shifted to other available space. The school was closed for a week beginning Feb. 10 following flooding caused by the waterline break.
Gravon said that the school will definitely be open on Tuesday. The district had planned to open Friday but postponed the opening until all structures could be thoroughly examined for damage. Monday is a school holiday.
Gravon estimated that the damage will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. He said he hoped insurance would cover the bulk of the cost, but he was not certain that would happen.
Gravon said school officials also have yet to decide how to make up for the lost school days. The district is weighing options, including the possibility of adding time to the end of the school year. “Until we’re done with the pressing issues, we won’t talk about the other things yet,” said Gravon. He said his first priority is to get the school running again with students back in the classrooms.
Crater Renaissance Academy was most heavily damaged when water seeped in between layers of flooring that were stacked on top of each other during its renovation from a gymnasium to classroom space during the 1970s.
Water between these layers could lead to a mold problem, meaning before a new floor can be constructed the other layers will have to be removed.
The other two small schools within Crater High School, Crater Academy of Health and Public Services and Crater School of Business, Innovation and Science, did not suffer major damage.
The full extent of all the damage may not be known for quite some time, according to Gravon. He said if the water warped any of the building’s structure the damage might not be evident for months.
When classes resume, schedules will be examined and redesigned to allow for relocating students within the building. Gravon said that will include making use of open classrooms, the library, student center space and portable classrooms.
The La Clinica student health center at the high school will be closed for an indefinite period of time.
The health center provides medical and behavioral treatment directly at the school for students who may have little access to health care.
“It’s a little mini-doctor’s office at the school,” said Traci Fossen, special programs director for La Clinica.
Fossen said she hopes the La Clinica center will be able to return to its previous location once Crater Renaissance Academy is reopened. La Clinica staff is working with the school district to determine if the services can be moved to an available space in the undamaged portion of the school or perhaps make use of a modular building. They are also considering bringing a mobile health center to the school once a week.
“Our ultimate goal is to be there to keep kids in school,” Fossen said.
Since the center opened last fall, 265 Crater students have received treatment there.
Shannon Houston is a Southern Oregon University intern. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.