published Friday, September 21st, 2012

Central High School getting new roof after flooding

 Central High School in Chattanooga
Central High School in Chattanooga
Allison Carter


The school board unanimously voted for Mike Evatt to continue serving as chairman and George Ricks to continue as vice chairman of the board.

Central High School will get a new roof after this week's rains caused flooding and canceled classes.

The Hamilton County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to spend about $370,000 from its general budget and another $360,000 in insurance money to replace the main building's roof and recoat the dome portion of the gymnasium's roof.

Assistant Superintendent Gary Waters said the roof was badly damaged from hail during the spring and this week's rain caused severe damage. He said repairs should be finished by the end of the year.

School board Chairman Mike Evatt asked that parents and students be patient as they fix the problem.

"It's not going to happen overnight," he said. "And it will probably leak again during construction."

Officials sent kids home from school Tuesday morning as water dripped into classrooms and caused sagging ceiling tiles to fall.

"It wasn't just a little water. We're talking ankle-deep water," said Christina Thongnopnua, a Central parent and the school's volunteer coordinator.

Thongnopnua presented the board with several dozen letters from students asking for a fix for the roof. She said volunteers have been working to keep the school dry as water leaked onto computers, books and furniture in the library.

"We're just really glad they passed this," she said.

Thursday's vote, a late addition to the agenda, sparked discussion about the state of roofs in other school buildings.

Board member Donna Horn said she witnessed standing water in the Howard School's auditorium while attending an event there Tuesday evening.

Board member Greg Martin said teachers and students have suffered from a leaky roof at Loftis Middle for too long. The 1995 roof's 10-year warranty has already expired. And Martin said Loftis and other schools in his Hixson-area district have been neglected.

"I'd like to see us act and get some things done," Martin said. "We have a problem with our roof as well."

That school was closed earlier in the week after vandals destroyed classrooms and started a fire there.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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