BISD start date pushes to Sept. 19

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:12 p.m.
Updated Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

Bloomington Elementary teachers Joel Garcia, left, and Adam Wooten push a cart of classroom chairs to a temporary classroom in the FEMA dome.

Bloomington Elementary teachers Joel Garcia, left, and Adam Wooten push a cart of classroom chairs to a temporary classroom in the FEMA dome.   Ana Ramirez for The Victoria Advocate

Bloomington Elementary School students will take second glances at their new classroom as they begin the school year Tuesday.

"It will take some getting used to," said Louise Torres, principal. "After the novelty wears off, we will be OK."

Teachers worked Wednesday to transition classrooms to the district's Federal Emergency Management Agency dome because of Hurricane Harvey damage.

Bloomington school district pushed its start date to Tuesday for students. Teachers will return Monday.

Damage to roofs and floors of all four campuses was deemed catastrophic by insurance representatives, said Superintendent Abbie Barnett.

"Water came in and created problems with walls, floors and air condition units," Barnett said.

Officials made plans to shift students from non-operational areas on campuses to functioning areas, he said.

Temporary classrooms for Bloomington Elementary School have been set up in the FEMA dome. The main campus of the elementary school will not have anyone in the building.

The campus' Media Center, or library, had originally been set to open, but an additional assessment made officials deem the area off-limits for another two weeks, Barnett said.

Pre-K through first grade could possibly be relocated to the First Baptist Church in Bloomington, said John Ellsworth, board president.

Bloomington Middle School students and Bloomington High School students will report to their respective campuses.

The new wing of the high school, library, computer lab and board meeting room will be used as high school classrooms, Barnett said.

The middle school building in the high school parking lot will accommodate all middle school students, he said.

The band hall and agriculture department buildings will open on a future date.

"You do what you have to do in a situation like this," Barnett said. "There is no blueprint; you do what works to get your kids in and start educating them."

Modulars, or portable buildings, will be ready in about three weeks, which will provide additional space, Barnett said.

Pickup and drop-off zones and transportation routes will also be adjusted, he said.

The district plans to be fully restored in January, Barnett said. This includes plans to repair damage to the district's football stadium.

An update will be sent to parents of elementary school students once plans are finalized, Barnett said.

"In times like these, it's going to be uncomfortable ... stay calm and understand we will get through this together," he said. "It will take all of us to make it work."


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