Parents, students voice safety concerns after school collapse

Parents, students voice safety concerns after school collapse

Posted:
Part of the roof at Jefferson County High School collapsed last month. Part of the roof at Jefferson County High School collapsed last month.
"I do not anticipate putting children back in this building at all this year," said Director of Schools Charles Edmonds. "I do not anticipate putting children back in this building at all this year," said Director of Schools Charles Edmonds.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) – Concerns are growing for parents and students at Jefferson County High School, which was damaged in a recent storm. Part of the roof collapsed last month.

School officials say based on past inspections, they had no idea the roof of Building 8 was so problematic other than a few leaks. Now repairs have been added to the list of ongoing renovations at the county's only high school.

The biggest question right now is whether all the buildings are safe enough for children to go back to school. School officials say the buildings are safe.

However, it appears classes won't be held in Building 8 when school begins one week from Thursday.

Brandi Dalton will start her sophomore year at Jefferson County High School and says her first days would've been inside the damaged building, and it's still a worrisome sight.

"Scared it's going to collapse while we're in there or scared it's not," Dalton said.

Recently, engineers and inspectors have been taking a closer look at the structure, and crews have been removing debris after the collapse.

Director of Schools Charles Edmonds says this building is simply not safe enough for students.

"I do not anticipate putting children back in this building at all this year," said Edmonds.

Vocational classes held in Building 8 will be absorbed into the main campus. Edmonds blames a combination of rain and a clogged drain for the roof collapsing.

"We are checking the drains on the rest of the building on the campus," added Edmonds.

Parents say their concerns are growing. "What if it collapses even more with the kids in there a week from today," said Brandi's mom Marshane Dalton.

There are plans to repair Building 8. The repairs will be paid for through a combination of insurance money and funds set aside for the building in the $25 million renovation project.

School officials say the fire chief conducts a yearly inspection of the school buildings and that maintenance workers do an upkeep check roughly every six weeks.

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