Jefferson Co. High School students head back to class

Jefferson Co. High School students head back to class after roof collapse

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School administrators help direct traffic for Jefferson County High School's first day of classes. School administrators help direct traffic for Jefferson County High School's first day of classes.
"I hope they know it's safe for us to go in there and they can just get it done fast and efficient and make sure they know we are going to be safe," said Kayla Bowers, a junior at Jefferson County High School. "I hope they know it's safe for us to go in there and they can just get it done fast and efficient and make sure they know we are going to be safe," said Kayla Bowers, a junior at Jefferson County High School.
Building 8 remains closed to classes after the roof collapsed in July 2013. Building 8 remains closed to classes after the roof collapsed in July 2013.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) - Students are back in classes a month after the roof collapsed at Jefferson County High School.

Thursday kicked off the fall semester and as some of the students drive onto the campus, they pass the damage. Two months ago, drama student Brooke Burchfield was in that very building.

"I'm kind of devastated because a couple months earlier I was in there doing plays and to think that could have happened to us when we were in there, it's really an eye opener," said Burchfield.

No one was in the building when part of the roof came down, but during the school year, around 160 students could be in the building at any given time.

The building housed drama and some vocational classes. Until the building is repaired, those courses are going to be taught in the main building.

"There were so many kids in building eight. And having so many, oh, it's going to be hectic, really hectic. There's going to be so much crammed. We are going to be late for classes. We don't know where we are going. It's going to be crazy," said Burchfield.

Jefferson County High School student Kayla Bowers admits she's nervous to go to class, even in the other buildings. She just doesn't believe they're structurally sound.

"They are going to fall apart above you, like it's scary going in here knowing that collapsed that could happen to that building in a minute," said Bowers.

Principal Scott Walker says all the other buildings have been inspected and have been declared safe. Walker says some of the other buildings are under renovation. Those renovations will be done in phases over three years for the price of $24 million.

"All of our buildings will have new lighting, new paint, new flooring, new furniture, and we are excited about that," said Walker.

"I hope they know it's safe for us to go in there and they can just get it done fast and efficient and make sure they know we are going to be safe," said Bowers.

With the renovations underway, Walker says to improve traffic flow student drop off will now take place off Highway 92. Buses and student will come in off West Dumplin Valley Road.

The principal says there's no word yet from insurance on how long it will take to repair the damaged building or what the cost will be.

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