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Area school attempts to rebuild after tornado in time for 2015 school year


Colfax, WI (WEAU) -- Kids may not want to hear it, and parents may not want to believe it but summer is already half-way through and, for many schools, that means they'll soon be opening their doors to students. But for one area school, having everything up and running by the time summer is over, is tougher than usual.

The Colfax school district was hit fairly hard last month when a tornado touched down, taking out a large portion of their athletic complex and doing damage to the interior and exterior of the school building but despite it all, they're still planning on being ready for students on September 2nd

"This was supposed to be a quiet summer, just a parking lot project, June 27th changed the summer plan considerably, it could have been much worse everything is replaceable and reparable” says Superintendent Bill Yingst.

The summer may typically be a time for many schools to take care of special projects, and prep for the fall but for the school district of Colfax, this summer has held different challenges.

Yingst says, "It's definitely been an added load on the administrative team here and myself.”

After a tornado did an estimated $1 million in damage to the school Yingst says plans for repairs began almost immediately. Yingst says the athletic complex is the most visibly damaged, but says the clean-up is about 85% completed. Estimator, Stuart Spronk, with the restoration company, Giertsen, agrees.

Spronk says, “At this point it's mainly the emergency services work, the clean-up. The big factor at this point is trying to gather all the information needed to put the school back together. So, we have many various sub-contractors, roofers, wood floor experts, carpets, ceiling tiles, painters, we're just trying to put all of these things together so we have a good plan in action and then facilitate that."

Spronk says once there's a plan in place, he estimates it will be a six week process to finish the permanent repairs. Which, Yingst says if all goes according to plan, should be in time for the start of school.

Yingst says, "I think it will be a stretch the next six to seven weeks, I really think it will be product availability and contractor availability. So, that will remain to be seen, but when it gets to the next phase of building I think it will move along nicely."

Yingst says overall the project is at the 50-60% mark with plans to begin construction in the next week and a half.

Yingst also says the school's insurance claim will remain open throughout the school year, so that when teachers and students are back in class they can address any unforeseen issues.


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