Metro-East News

Granite City pushes back first day of school again. But rain isn’t to blame this time.

Granite City high school flood cleanup underway.

Flood damage caused by a massive rain storm has forced Granite City School District to cancel classes on Thursday, Aug. 15, and Friday, Aug. 16. The first day of school is now scheduled to be Monday, Aug. 19.
Up Next
Flood damage caused by a massive rain storm has forced Granite City School District to cancel classes on Thursday, Aug. 15, and Friday, Aug. 16. The first day of school is now scheduled to be Monday, Aug. 19.

For the third time since a sudden thunderstorm dumped up to 7 1/2 inches of rain on parts of Granite City, school officials there have elected to delay the start of the new term.

This time, the rain isn’t to blame.

Superintendent James Greenwald said Tuesday that more environmental air studies would need to be done to the high school before it reopened to students.

“We still need to do some additional environmental testing tomorrow, but this will cancel school for the remainder of this week,” he said.

Greenwald said the studies should have been done immediately following the renovation of a classroom. The ceiling over that room collapsed last school year during a weekend in May. Repairs were completed over the summer.

“This was a summer-long project. The project was completed before school was scheduled to start,” he said. “But we found we needed to take a few extra steps to ensure safety.”

Greenwald said the environmental air study is required prior to allowing students back into the school. He said the district is set to meet with a scientist this week to discuss results of the testing.

“It’s environmental testing, basically testing for any type of unsafe particles or unsafe chemicals,” he said.

District 9 will welcome students back to their classrooms on Monday, Aug. 26, at the earliest, Greenwald said.

School was originally canceled due to rain damage occurred last week when a “freak storm” inundated Granite City beginning on Sunday, Aug. 11, and lasting until the early morning hours of the next day. Streets became rivers, homes were flooded and at Granite City High School the rain-damaged floors, the roof and other areas of the school.

Coolidge Junior High also sustained damage to 10 of its rooms.

Classes originally were scheduled to begin on Thursday but were delayed through the weekend so cleanup and repairs could be addressed. Greenwald said last Friday that the work was taking “longer than expected” and that the entire district would be closed until Thursday, Aug. 22.

Most of the rain damage was at Granite City High School and are short-term issues, Greenwald said.

Last week, Greenwald he decided to delay the first day of school earlier this week stemmed from ensuring the safety of students and staff members.

“We did not want kids coming in tomorrow or Friday just for the sake of rushing school to start,” he said. “(They’d be) stepping over hoses and a lot of the dehumidifiers and fans are really noisy.”

Related stories from Belleville News-Democrat

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments