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Storm damage to C.M. Eppes Middle School means changes to start of school year

A middle school lost part of its roof thanks to Hurricane Isaias.
A middle school lost part of its roof thanks to Hurricane Isaias.(WITN)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 1:45 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Damage from Hurricane Isaias and storms late last week will mean some changes for the start of the school year at C.m. Eppes Middle School in Greenville.

Due to the current damage and impending repairs, all 7th and 8th grade classes at C.M. Eppes will begin 100 percent virtually, including those students who opted for face-to-face instruction.

Sixth grade students who have opted for face-to-face instruction will return to C.M. Eppes during the week of August 17, 2020, as originally scheduled and will face no delays.

PCS is currently working with the community in the surrounding area to find space in order to house 7th and 8th grade students who have opted for face-to-face instruction. Therefore, face-to-face instruction, with alternating weeks of virtual instruction, for 7th and 8th grades only, will resume in a couple of weeks as plans to secure community space move forward.

On August 3, C.M. Eppes received extensive roof damage from Hurricane Isaias on the two-story building that houses the school’s 7th grade, 8th grade, and Media Center. School officials noted that damage also occurred in ceiling tiles and carpeting of second floor areas. At the time, temporary roofing was placed on the affected building at C.M. Eppes, while Media Center and classroom furniture and items were relocated to the school’s cafeteria, a separate area not housed under the damaged roof.

During a second wave of storms at the end of the week and this weekend, the temporary roof material was blown off, allowing more water to penetrate the building and to seep further to the first floor of the building. Pitt County Schools Facilities staff worked all weekend, through multiple downpours in the area, to manage the water in the building and to assess additional water damage to carpeting and tiles.

Currently, due to the age of the building and the areas damaged, the building is closed off from the rest of C.M. Eppes Middle School. Estimates for repairs are still being received, insurance is being negotiated, and materials are being purchased for the extensive repairs.

A Greenville middle school wasn’t spared damage from Hurricane Isaias.

Part of C.M. Eppes Middle School’s roof is covered in a tarp after the storm ripped a section off.

C.M. Eppes Middle School suffered roof damage from Isaias
C.M. Eppes Middle School suffered roof damage from Isaias(WITN)

WITN was made aware of the damage by faculty who are concerned about a return to the building.

Pitt County School Public Information Office Jennifer Johnson says that they the system is still getting cost estimates on how much damage was caused.

Johnson says that the media center and some 7th grad classrooms were impacted.

Johnson says that the damage is not expected to impact the return of students to in-person instruction on August 17th.

“Safety is our absolute number one concern at Pitt County School’s. And speaking with our facilities department they were immediately made aware of the situation. Immediately went out and put a temporary placement there and again getting estimates so we can get that up and prepared,” Johnson said, “Any place that is not able to be open at C.M. Eppes will certainly be talked about and communicated to our staff.”

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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