School to end May 28; high school classes resume Monday

Crews continue to remove broken pieces of roofing from the top of South Central Calhoun High School Wednesday morning. A tornado tore the roof from the school Sunday night. GRAPHIC-ADVOCATE PHOTO/ERIN SOMMERS

South Central Calhoun School District students will finish school May 28, three days earlier than expected, SCC board members said during a special board meeting Wednesday morning.

Teachers will contact high school seniors by Friday, to help students complete any outstanding assignments ahead of Sunday’s graduation ceremony. Elementary and middle school classes resume Thursday, and high school students will meet at the Community Center in Lake City at 8:25 a.m. Monday, kicking off their final eight days of classes for this year, school officials said.

“We will begin classes with high school students around the square,” Superintendent Jeff Kruse said. “We may not have it by grades. We’re focusing on the core subject areas for those eight days.”

The Lake City Public Library and several churches have also offered space for class, Kruse said. High School Principal Randy Martin was meeting Wednesday morning with pastors at Woodlawn Christian Church and Lake City Union Church to coordinate use of their buildings, as well as the churches’ parking lots.

The preschool and transitional kindergarten classes at the high school are done for the year, Kruse said. Students who shuttle from Lake City to Rockwell City can catch the bus at the district’s bus barn instead of the high school for the rest of the year, he said. High schoolers will be dropped off around the Lake City square.

A number of community organizations, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, have offered to bring lunch for the students, Board President Jim Brown said. The district may need volunteers to help serve the meals.

The district does not yet have a cost estimate for the damage to the high school from Sunday night’s tornado, Brown said. The district does have full coverage on its roof, which means they will be reimbursed the full value of the roof, when it was new in 1994.

ServiceMaster has done most of the cleaning inside the building and will continue to do so, Brown said. The company brought on a project manager, Kevin Istas, Wednesday.

“Once the building and contents are gone, all the ceiling tiles will be removed,” Brown said, describing the next steps in the cleanup process. Cleaners will raise the building’s temperature to about 115 degrees, to dry out any moisture left from Sunday’s rain.

Istas will seek bids for the construction and then will have about six weeks to complete the project, he said. The district is targeting Aug. 24 as its date to return to the building. District officials will also coordinate other planned projects – an air conditioning system and wireless network improvements – with Istas and the roofing contractor. Kruse said a plan to repave the parking areas may have to wait a year.

“Is the time frame for school realistic,” board member Brad Assman asked.

“It’s doable,” Istas said.

Ron Leuwerke, of Leuwerke & Associates Inc. of West Des Moines, one of ServiceMaster’s subcontractors for similar projects, said he expected the students to be able to start classes in August, although there may still be paint streaks on the wall and other smaller items to complete.

“That’s our goal,” have them start school and be safe and sound,” board member Ron Maulsby said.

The school board will meet again Monday night at the middle school in Rockwell City.