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Friday, October 31, 2014

‘Our school is broke’
Lawrence High School students move to middle school due to Sandy-related damage
Donovan Berthoud/Herald
High school students walked up the stairs and through the columns of the middle school before they entered the building.

Dropped off by school buses or from their parents’ cars, Lawrence High School students walked through the front doors of the middle school this morning — a school they thought was in the rearview window of their educational careers — to begin at least eight weeks of displacement from Hurricane Sandy-related damage to the high school. In all the school could be closed for eight weeks, officials said.

Electrical repair work at the high school is expected to take at least eight weeks, according to District Superintendent Gary Schall, who said that he anticipates the high school reopening on March 18.

“There is an acre and half of crawl space in the high school and the removal of the electrical wires has begun,” said Schall, adding that the repair work had to be performed now as the district’s contracted engineer said the entire system could become inoperable.

For the safety of high school faculty, staff and students, the district implemented the temporary relocation plan. The high school students were moved to the middle school, seventh- and eight-grade middle school students remain in the school, fifth- and sixth-graders who attend the middle school were relocated to the Number Five and Two schools, respectively.

The high school students were welcomed to the middle school by a huge banner spread across the building’s columns, Schall, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Affairs Dr. Ann Pedersen and middle school personnel.

Some students seemed happier than others. One said, “This is so exciting,” when she saw the banner, but others were not as cheerful. One young lady who got off one of the buses said, “This is not funny, and another said, “Our school is broke.”

Sophomore Oscar Puk was also not catching the middle school spirit. “I don’t like it at all, I think it will be unorganized that they did this in one day,” said the Cedarhurst resident.

Parents dropping off their children, and other relatives, were not enamored of having to change their normal morning routine. “It’s difficult because we have to change schools,” said Maritza Sanchez, after she dropped off her daughter, Stephanie, a high school sophomore, at the middle school.

Sanchez, a Lawrence resident who works as a housekeeper in East Rockaway, said that she usually dropped Stephanie off at 7:30 a.m, and now it has to be at 7:15.

For parent Alex Akter, on days that his seventh-grade daughter Safa goes for extra help, he now has to wait in the car with her after dropping off his daughter Michelle, a high school freshman, at the middle school. “It doesn’t make sense to go home,” said Alex, adding that the family woke up 45 minutes earlier this morning.

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