In the turmoil that engulfed Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy, the school district faced a number of challenges. With a number of buildings damaged and with students and teachers displaced, spread far and wide and sometimes unreachable, school officials faced an arduous task in trying to reopen the schools. But within two weeks, students were back in classes, even though those classes were sometimes double their normal size. As time went on, students slowly returned to their normal buildings and classrooms, though for some, there is still no sense of normalcy.
In a presentation at the April 9 school board meeting, Thomas Ritzenthaler of CSArch, the district’s architecture and construction management firm, gave a presentation detailing the status of the storm restoration.
The $29.3 million in costs associated with repairing and remediating damage to district buildings and grounds caused by the storm includes the five school buildings and the Nike alternative high school.
That does not include the cost of work done by Renu Contracting & Restoration, a company hired by the district to provide emergency restoration to schools and other buildings. The company began cleanup operations on Oct. 31, and officials said that most of Renu’s work was completed by Jan. 15.
Cleanup operations included debris removal, water extraction, hazardous material abatement and some building demolition and restoration. Ritzenthaler went building by building and detailed the work that had been done, the repairs that were still needed and the anticipated costs.
Ritzenthaler said that to pay for repairs, the district will first request reimbursement from its insurance company, and then turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which, he said, typically pays for 75 percent of allowable repair costs above what insurance covers. School officials, however, said they are currently lobbying FEMA to cover more than that. The state and the district would assume the remaining costs.