Albion Elementary reopens on Wednesday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Fourth grade classroom relocated in building

Photo by Tom Rivers – An engineer today inspected the wall that was hit by an SUV on Monday and deemed the wall is structurally sound, although most of the brick may need to be replaced.

ALBION – The elementary school will reopen on Wednesday for students in grades prekindergarten through 5 following an inspection of the school today.

An engineer from King & King Architects in Syracuse inspected the wall that was struck by an SUV on Monday afternoon. The engineer found the wall is structurally sound. The steel supports weren’t affected by the crash on Monday, said Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent.

The district relocated a fourth grade classroom led by Lee Sheehan to the second floor on the opposite side of the building. District custodial staff, as well as teachers and teacher aides, moved Sheehan’s class to another room and recreated the scene before the car crash to exacting detail, including the desk arrangements, Sheehan’s New York Yankees decorations, a tabletop hockey game and the “Dugout.” Students’ lockers were also moved by the new second floor classroom.

Although school was closed today, students in Sheehan’s class returned to school to see the new classroom and meet with Sheehan and other teachers.

“They walked into a new room, but in many ways it was the same classroom,” Bonnewell said.

The class has 21 students. Bonnewell said he is most thankful none of the students were seriously injured when the SUV crashed into the wall, sending bricks and debris flying in the classroom. Five students were treated for injuries on Monday.

Today was a chance for the students to talk through their experiences from Monday, when the SUV hit the school at about 3 p.m. The district made counselors available to students.

“All of the kids supported each other,” Bonnewell said.

The class will now meet in a room that was used for small group instruction. The room overlooks the playground. Bonnewell said some of the students remarked they like the view in the new classroom, and they also like being on the top floor of the school in a section mostly used by fifth graders.

Besides Sheehan’s damaged classroom, the district is also closing a second floor computer lab for the remainder of the year. That computer lab is directly above Sheehan’s room.

The district also has moved back the start date for the ELA (English Language Arts) state assessments to Thursday. The three-day exams will continue Friday and Monday for students in grades 3 through 5 with Tuesday as a make-up date.

Bonnewell and the district want to allow a one-day transition back to school before the tests start on Thursday.

The SUV left a gaping hole in the back wall of the elementary school. The two-story brick wall may have to be rebricked. The extent of the repairs will be resolved by engineers and contractors. Bonnewell also said the project will likely be paid for by insurance from the SUV driver and perhaps some of the cost from the district’s insurance provider. Bonnewell said that will all be worked out in the coming weeks and months.