There is still work to be done in the technology lab damaged by the Oct. 10 fire at Frankfort-Schuyler High School, but classes are running as usual for the most part, school Superintendent Robert Reina reported during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“The physical damage was limited in scope, but there was extensive heat and smoke damage to three floors,” he said.
Classrooms were coated in soot and dirt and at one point he stepped into his office to find it full of smoke, which had traveled through the building’s ventilation system. Soot could even be found in students’ lockers, he said.
Frankfort firefighters were alerted at 2:29 a.m. that morning through an alarm system at the school and were able to put the fire out in about a half hour. A dehumidifier in the classroom caused the fire, according to Frankfort Fire Chief Charles Conigliaro.
Reina credited the quick action of local firefighters and also praised Service Master, the cleaning service, which worked through Columbus Day weekend. “They did a terrific job to get us open by Tuesday,” he said.
School officials are taking inventory of the items lost in the fire for insurance purposes. Sheetrock and carpet will have to be replaced along with computer tables and laptops. Students who normally attend classes in that room have been assigned to other classrooms.
“The Project Lead the Way lab escaped with very little damage,” according to Reina.
School officials hope the computers that were in that room can be cleaned and put back into service in the classroom. The superintendent hopes to have students in that program back in their regular classroom and using their regular software soon.
Project Lead The Way provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics education curricular programs for middle and high schools.
Prior to the regular meeting, the board conducted a workshop with an architect and attorney to discuss a possible capital project, which would focus primarily on the elementary school with some work at the high school. Board members were concerned about the cost of the plan the architect presented and asked the project be scaled back. The architect will put together another set of plans and return to meet with the board at a future date.
“Right now it’s an information gathering process,” said Reina.
Friends of Rachel
Reina reported that close to 50 students participated in the Friends of Rachel Club Chain Reaction program at Herkimer BOCES and there were two national presenters on hand. The next day, a rally took place at Frankfort-Schuyler with students from 10 schools participating. The day ended with a balloon launch and children at the elementary school went outside to watch.
Page 2 of 2 - The Frankfort-Schuyler Teachers’ Association donated $1,000 toward the Friends of Rachel activities.
Rachel’s Challenge is “a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion,” according to the Rachel’s Challenge website.
The programs are based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Shortly before her death she wrote, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
In other business, the board approved a policy dealing with concussion management in the district.