Two different Louisa schools damage assessments

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – Louisa County is a little closer to knowing whether or not the schools damaged in the 5.8 magnitude earthquake are salvageable. Tuesday night, the superintendent and school board got key pieces of information in two separate and very different damage reports.

Starting in February, students are expected to attend classes in pods, but the future of the high school building and other schools damaged in the quake still remains unclear. Tuesday evening, school leaders learned as with most things there are two sides to every story.

There is a running joke among Louisa students. They won't graduate from Louisa High School.  With pods as classrooms, they'll get their diplomas from "Louisa trailer park." School Superintendent Dr. Deborah Pettit told us, even with this new information she can't say when that bad joke will end.

"This kind of analysis is tedious and very detailed and so we're going to have to be patient," she warned.

A private engineering firm's report estimates the damage to the schools at about $31 million, whereas one from the insurance company sets it at under $14 million.

Dr. Pettit said further examination is necessary in order to reconcile the differences.

So where do we go from here?

Tuesday, crews started digging trenches for sewer and water in what will be the new modular high school. An area once scattered with trees is now empty in order to make way for the temporary facility.

Now the system will wait to hear about the governor's request for FEMA aid for damaged public buildings.

"FEMA assistance will make up the difference," Dr. Pettit explained.

While the grand timeline is still fuzzy, some things are going according to plan. The first classroom pod arrived Tuesday. About two dozen more are expected in the coming weeks.

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