It would be a week later than his predicted date, but Lawrence School District Superintendent Gary Schall said that the high school could reopen on March 25, one day before the scheduled holiday break.
“The work is on schedule and by next Tuesday (March 19), I will be able to officially give a definitive time for when the power is going back on,” said Schall, adding that the news could be coming in the afternoon.
According to Schall, the electrical rewiring and installation of the switch gear which operates the system in the high school is nearly complete. The school was closed on Jan. 16 after the electric system was deemed to have the potential for becoming inoperable due to corrosion caused by saltwater after Hurricane Sandy. The repairs are expected to cost $8 million. The district will be applying for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover approximately 75 percent of the repairs and other costs incurred during the relocation.
Schall said that following lengthy discussions with several vested groups such as the PTA and Lawrence Teacher’s Association, it was decided that returning students, teachers and administrators to the high school, “should be done with the least possible disruption to instruction,” he said.
Moving materials and equipment back to the high school would be done on March 23 and 24, Schall said. The high school would reopen on Monday, then the district is closed from March 26 to April 3 for the holiday vacation.
“I think that if the school was determined to be safe by an expert who is not afraid to have his children there, then I am happy to have all the children back in the school on March 25, said Cedarhurst resident Giselle Eras, whose daughter, Nicole, is a high school senior.
Since Jan. 16, 975 high school students have been attending classes at the middle school. About 475 middle school student were shifted to two of the district’s three elementary schools. Fifth-grade middle school students are at the Number Five School and sixth-grade students are at the Number Two School.