Students Back in Class at Storm-Damaged School

Some of the damage.
Some of the damage.

The first day back at school is always a challenge. But at West Hardeeville Elementary, it's even worse. They are literally picking up the pieces after a portion of their roof caved in over the holiday break.

The roof caved in and damaged the music room and guidance office, so today school officials had to make special arrangements. Music teacher Jessi Harris, for example, is having to take his music lessons from classroom to classroom.

"I have to move around full time, and trying to figure out where to place stuff is going to be a challenge," he said.

But that isn't his only challenge. Harris lost most of his equipment. "We lost all musical equipment, all of our keyboards, organ, all electrical equipment, computers were lost," said Coleen Finkley, the school's principal.

That's not to mention all the guidance department lost during the incident.

However, school officials and teachers are doing their best to make sure things go as normally as possible for the students on their first day back. "I don't have any more space, so it's not like when something like this happens I have another space to move into," said Finkley. "We're using the mailroom for guidance, we're having to send music into the classrooms. We are at capacity."

Although they've got quite a mess to deal with, school officials say they're just happy no one was in the building when it happened. "We're lucky it happened over the holidays, we were able to locate it," said Finkley. "We didn't have students which was to our advantage. So we had time to clean it and make it safe."

School officials are hoping to be back in the music room and guidance office within four to six weeks.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com