Post-quake, Louisa County high schoolers finally get new digs

MINERAL, VA (WWBT) – More than five months after the August earthquake, Louisa County high schoolers are finally getting their school back, but it won't exactly be the kind of place they're used to.

The new normal, here in Mineral, is that of modular units. 127,000 square feet of them...making a new high school that, at long last, opens Wednesday.

It won't be the first day of class...but it might feel like it for so many Louisa County high schoolers, including Idris Davis.

"It's really different. I like it," he said.

Idris was among the first to lay eyes on the new digs Tuesday, built on top of what used to be the parking lot of the original Louisa County High School.

Kyle Dabney and his mother, Pam, said they too, were pleasantly surprised by the new surroundings.

"It's a shame they can't go back in the regular school, but they can't get in there," Pam said.

The high school building was so badly damaged in last year's 5.8 magnitude earthquake that it's not usable anymore. Similar damage disrupted one of the elementary schools too, which also turned to modular units last fall.

Surrounded by students and staff, school leaders said this marks the first time since August, that all Louisa County students will be going to class five days a week. At the middle and high school levels, that means no more sharing buildings; No more Saturday classes.

"While today is a moment to celebrate our accomplishments, we must not rest on our laurels, as there is much work ahead of us," said School Board Chairman Greg Strickland.

If anyone knows that, it's Idris's father...who's also a teacher.

"I'm glad that the kids are fine, glad that teachers are ready to go," said Hashim Davis, adding, "And here we are, it's just a testament to our community."

While modular units are temporary by nature, this is more of a long-term solution. Administrators estimate this could be the reality here for probably the next three years.

Tuesday's open house took place less than a day after a 3.2 magnitude aftershock rattled the campus, but school leaders say there wasn't any noticeable damage.

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