In late May, the Chillicothe area was plagued with near-record flooding, affecting many homes and businesses, and Chillicothe R-II School District was not spared. Just like many area residents and business owners are discovering working with insurance companies can sometimes slow the process for returning home or replacing all of the damaged and destroyed items.
The district's administration offices, surplus storage and parts of the bus barn all had water in them. The administration building, located at 1020 W Business 36, the building is home to administration offices, on the first floor, and the Transition to Life Center, located on the second floor.
"Many people do not realize this but there is a basement to the building as well, so when there was 14 inches on the main floor, it means the entire basement was underwater," Dan Wiebers, superintendent, reported. The basement is used for storing paper and other items for area schools, however, it was cleaned out before the floodwaters got in the building.
However, damage to the first floor calls for the replacement of flooring, drywall, some furniture and other items that were unable to be moved due to the quickly rising waters, and as Dr. Zach McMains, assistant superintendent reported in June, the HVAC system will also have to be replaced.
Wiebers added some electrical work, internet lines and wiring to allow access to school computer systems needed to be repaired as well.
"The biggest issue most people are facing is that water ruins something and it is hard to be repaired or cleaned up,” Wiebers said. "We did have some furniture, the bottom drawers of file cabinets and whatever was in those, that have been destroyed and needs to be replaced." There was surplus furniture in the building that was also destroyed.
"Some of the paperwork was able to be dried and we have it once again, there are somethings that we just couldn't save or not replace, like the heating and cooling system."
The district has temporarily moved their offices to Chillicothe High School's library, and had hoped to be back in the district offices by Aug. 1, however, district officials, construction crews and the insurance company are still in discussions and installation of new electrical, internet lines and the heating and cooling system still need to be completed.
Wiebers said it is clear the district offices will not be back at the Business 36 location by Aug.1, so talks have begun with local business owners for the district to temporarily lease empty office space, starting Aug. 1.
"We want to make sure we give the staff at the high school plenty of time to get organized and prepared for the upcoming school year," he said.
School officials are also looking for a temporary home for the Transition to Life Center.
"Ultimately we want that building to be safe for all fo the students, staff, faculty and community members," Wieber said.
The district will have to pay its $1,000 deductible, but beyond that, all other costs have been paid for by insurance up to this point. Wiebers also noted the insurance company has already spoken with him and has agreed they will be paying for rental fees for offices and space for the Transition to Life Center.
Once a formal lease agreement has been made for both the district offices and the Transition to Life Center, Wiebers said he will be making a formal announcement.
In the meantime, the district's administration offices can be reached at the usual number, 646-4566.