CCHS flood repairs exceed $450,000

Columbia City High School students returned Tuesday to a school that underwent more than $450,000 of unanticipated repairs over the summer due to a June flood that caused damage to an entire wing of the school.On Monday, the Whitley County Consolidated Schools board of trustees approved a resolution to allocate $340,000 from the school’s rainy day fund to pay for bills associated with flood cleanup and repairs. Business and Operations Manager Tony Zickgraf said the school had some insurance funds and emergency funds from the capital projects funds to cover the balance of the costs not coming from the rainy day fund. This allocation leaves about $1.2 million in the rainy day fund.After the flood, which was the fourth one over the past 10 years at the school, carpet was removed from one whole wing of the school and replaced with tile, which Zickgraf said was at least a $100,000 cost.“This has been the most severe (flood) to date,” Zickgraf said.There was also an extensive amount of high claims from drying and dehumidifying the school, and some parts of walls had to be removed where mold was beginning to grow on the drywall.“Is (the school) where we’d like it to be? No,” said CCHS Assistant Principal Brady Mullett. “Could there be some frustration by staff? Yes. But today I saw our staff rally together, realizing that they’re here for kids.”The school is still negotiating with the insurance company, and any reimbursements will be deposited back into the rainy day fund.The board also heard an update from its architect and financial adviser for the Eagle Tech Academy project. Architectural designs are expected to be approved Sept. 20, with construction starting on the Marshall Community Center in December.Rod Wilson from City Securities Corp. reported that WCCS had been approved for another round of Qualified School Construction Bonds from the Department of Education, and thus the tax impact of the Eagle Tech construction project would be just over $5 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home and about $9 for the owner of 40 acres of farmland.