Storm disrupts VUHS opening
VERGENNES — Repairs were under way in various sections of Vergennes Union High School as the school year began last Wednesday, and a series of heavy and unexpected rainstorms early last week wreaked havoc on several language classrooms.
“It overwhelmed the design of the temporary structure on the roof,” explained Co-principal Ed Webbley.
Webbley said he was unsure of the cost of the damage because VUHS is not responsible for the damage from the storm, which is covered by the construction company’s insurance.
“So there is no cost except morale,” he joked.
Webbley said that five classrooms were affected by flooding. One teacher had to relocate to an unused classroom last week, while the other four taught in rooms alongside industrial dehumidifiers, which were to remain in the classrooms through Labor Day weekend to prevent mold setting in. The humidifiers, Webbley said, made the classrooms uncomfortably hot and some teachers worried that dust and particulates in the air were not safe to breathe.
“But we passed the air quality test,” Webbley said, adding that using dehumidifiers to prevent mold was also purely a precaution — no mold is currently in the school.
School facilities had already been rearranged as the school year began. After the school’s auditorium failed a safety inspection, school officials closed it for the first weeks of school. No events are scheduled for the auditorium in the next several weeks. Webbley said the school had reached out to the Vergennes Opera House to host VUHS theater classes, and that the theater had been “very receptive.”
Though it was expected that the section of the school that flooded last week would be out of danger by the time classes resume on Tuesday, other areas of the school will be vulnerable to floods as roof construction continues for the coming two weeks. Webbley said the construction company and the school are taking care to make sure that there will be no more damages that disrupt classes.
“The construction company is taking better precautions and keeping a close watch on the weather,” he said.
Webbley said the students were great sports about all the changes.
“We had a great first day of school,” Webbley said. “Once the kids take one look at that exposed structure up there on the roof, it’s like it’s always been there. The kids and teachers made really quick adjustments to all those obstacles we stuck in their way.”
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