Mobile classrooms arrive as Page damage assessment continues

by Kim Robins - Posted on Jun 15, 2011 - 03:51 PM

Photo: The modular units that will house eighth graders this fall have arrived at Gloucester High School where their assembly will soon begin. The cluster of modulars will be called Page Middle School. Photo by Kim Robins.

The modular units that will house eighth graders this fall have arrived at Gloucester High School where their assembly will soon begin. The cluster of modulars will be called Page Middle School. Photo by Kim Robins.

The mobile classrooms that will form a temporary Page Middle School have arrived at their installment site on the Gloucester High School campus, as structural evaluations continue inside what is left of the tornado-battered Page Middle School on Route 17.

The April 16 tornado destroyed the rear wing of Page and a portion of the cafeteria, with the front two wings of the school, the gymnasium and the auditorium left largely intact. Work has continued since the storm to determine how much of the building may be salvageable.

"There is still no final determination on Page," school division superintendent Ben Kiser told the Gloucester School Board Tuesday. "I don’t know if we will have a final damage assessment on the 23rd," Kiser said, referring to a public forum scheduled for 7 p.m. next Thursday at Gloucester High School to air opinions on the future of Page. Kiser said he hopes to have at least a general verbal assessment to share with the public at the hearing.

Insurance representatives have said they would tear down what remains of the Page cafeteria if that portion of the building was found to be at least 60 percent destroyed, said assistant superintendent John Hutchinson. However, Hutchinson said the current evaluation reflects a 40 percent cafeteria destruction, a finding he said would be reviewed by the school division’s architectural consultants.