School Still in Recovery

It has been home games away from home for the Clarkdale Bulldogs this season. The school's gymnasium was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

"I believe it took the roof and lifted it and put it back down," said Jan Miller, Clarkdale Principal.

With cracked walls and rafters popped, Miller says insurance companies have deemed the building unsafe. At least one other major building on the campus suffered severe damage during the storm.

"We've had about 12 classrooms that we've had to find other places and our enrollment is up," Miller said.

Things are so crowded that school officials have converted some into classrooms. Two teachers are sharing a former stage for classroom space. Sometimes they even have to compete with the cheerleaders, who practice there late in the day.

So, five months after the storm, what has been the holdup in getting repairs? School officials say it's due to discrepancies with the insurance companies.

"The engineer that we hired has come up with a different figure than what the engineers of the insurance company," said superintendent David Little. "So, they'll be meeting this Thursday to try to work out the differences and once we get that done, then we'll know if we can move forward."

After repairs, the damaged gymnasium will be used for elementary school purposes. If all goes well Miller says this project could be finished by the start of the next school year.

The Lauderdale County School Board has approved a proposal to build a new gym in an existing building on campus for Clarkdale High School.

Miller says damaged classrooms should be repaired and ready to use by spring break.