Danville Middle School May Reopen

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The Danville Area School Board has some decisions to make in the next few weeks regarding Danville Middle School.

The school was heavily damaged in the September flood and the district has not been able to use the building since then.

The Danville Area School District just learned it will get $5.5 million  from state and federal emergency agencies to repair flood damage.

The superintendent said the district will use most of the money to repair the current middle school rather than build a new one.

Suzy Wickham's son is an eighth grader in the Danville Area School District. He attended classes at the middle school on Route 11 for less than two weeks.

"He's doing the best he can to make the best of the situation. I know they lost a lot of books and equipment. He has a great attitude and the teachers make do with what they have," said Wickham.

Seventh and eighth grade students are currently taking classes at the former Danville Elementary School. Parents that Newswatch 16 spoke to said they hope the students can get back to their former school soon because it has a lot more space than this one does.

"The one she's at now is much smaller, much more crowded. They don't even have the sixth grade there," said Virginia Baker.

While the middle school is closed school directors are trying to decide if it will reopen or if a new middle school will be built at another location.

Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said the second option is not likely.

"For us to acquire land and start the process with the economic crisis school district's are experiencing, that's just not going to be feasible at this time," Latorre said.

She added improvements to a levee surrounding the middle school will not begin until next year. In the meantime, the building needs to be prepared in case of another flood.

Earlier this week, state and federal emergency agencies promised the school district more than $5 million to fix the flood-damaged building.

"The major pieces of the building such as the auditorium, the industrial arts room, the home economics room, the cafeteria, the library.  All of the critical rooms that need extensive repair," Latorre said.

The superintendent said the school board will decide what to do with the Danville Middle School within the next few weeks.  The plan is for students to be back in that building, or in a new building, by fall of 2013.