Old School Building Partially Collapses In Shenandoah

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SHENANDOAH -- Part of the former J.W. Cooper School in Shenandoah collapsed because of water damage Tuesday.

According to the building owner, no one was injured, but the area was taped off.

Authorities brought in an engineer and declared the place structurally sound.

"I got a phone call from the borough manager. He was very calm. He just said, 'Kent, we have a problem up at the school. You'll want to get up here,'" said Kent Steinmetz.

Steinmetz owns the building and has been working to renovate it since 2009.

It has not been used as a school since the early 1990s.

Steinmetz said he wants to make the place into a space for businesses and a community center.

He called the collapse a "setback".

"It's not the end of the world, this corner is where the elevator shaft is going anyway and we had planned five years from now to put it in, and we're just pushing now to put it in a little quicker," said Steinmetz.

"I think there's going to be some setbacks, but you know otherwise I think he's taking the building in the right direction. I'd hate to see it be torn down," said Brian Kampsky of Shenandoah, who attended the school.

"I want to see something good come out of that. I think it'd be good. That's like a memorial in town," said Joe Lewandowski of Shenandoah who also attended the school.

Steinmetz said it may take a while, but this place will be eventually be finished.

"We had anticipated issues down the road, it just sort of snuck up on us this morning. We'll just work a little harder. We'll get it done," said Steinmetz.