UPDATE: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
City crews are working around the clock to get the now vacant Bryant Elementary ready for College Hill Students to start school there on Monday.
Bryant Elementary has sat vacant for over a year. Superintendent John Allison says crews have to clean the entire building, check the utilities, and bring in supplies.
College Hill students will meet their teachers Sunday August 18, at Bryant Elementary. School starts the next day.
Bryant is more than a fifteen minute drive away from College Hill. We spoke with one parent who says they don't mind adjusting their schedule because their child wasn't at school when the fire broke out.
"It is inconvenient but like I said there's no inconvenience that can take away from the fact she wasn't there. If you'd have called me when she was there and I had to worry for her safety, I'll take driving her to the west side over that any day," College Hill parent Patty Adams said.
School district representatives are still figuring out what to do about transportation. One option could be to transport students from College Hill to Bryant by bus but they are still working out the logistics.
The district should release another update on Thursday. If you have any questions you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 316-973-9600.
UPDATE: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
All College Hill Elementary students are being temporarily relocated until further notice after a fire caused extensive damage on Monday.
During a news conference Tuesday, USD 259 Superintendent John Allison said that those students will now be attending school at the former Bryant Elementary building, located at 4702 West 9th Street North. School was originally set to begin tomorrow for College Hill students, but will instead start on Monday, August 19.
The fire broke out Monday afternoon at College Hill Elementary in the 200 block of North Clifton, and did hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Parts of the building were filled with heavy smoke - so thick that firefighters worked in zero visibility with breathing apparatus because of the high CO levels.
After the fire was extinguished, investigators determined that the fire most likely started in a second floor closet near where a refrigerator and microwave were plugged in. There was significant fire damage to the closet and two adjacent rooms, as well as smoke and water damage.
Preliminary estimates indicate the fire caused $250,000 in damage to the building, along with another $150,000 in damage to its contents. The fire is not considered suspicious in nature, and no one was hurt.
School officials said they're still trying to work out bus transportation to Bryant, as well as Latchkey. New information in those areas is expected on Thursday.
Open house and meetings with teachers will now be held on Sunday. The school has about 50 staff members, including 26 teachers.
UPDATE: Monday, August 12, 2013
A fire broke out at College Hill Elementary this afternoon while teachers were there getting ready for the first day of school.
Just after 2 p.m. Monday, fire crews were dispatched to College Hill Elementary, located at 211 N. Clifton. When they arrived, heavy smoke was visible from the outside. The fire was eventually extinguished, but left behind a lot of damage.
The school district still hasn't made a decision on what the fire will mean for the first day of school, which is just two days away.
Fire investigators say the cause is still under investigation. They don't know exactly how much damage it did to the school but they expect it to be at least several hundred thousand dollars.
Investigators say when they arrived at the school, they found a small amount of fire inside but heavy black smoke throughout the two story building.
“I did see smoke coming out of the closet from the classroom right across from mine and there was smoke coming down the stairs as well,” College Hill Teacher Julie Brown said.
“When I looked up the stairwell, all this black smoke was just billowing out,” College Hill Teacher Tammy Flinn said.
Teachers stood outside the school, watching as firefighters broke windows and smoke poured from their school. They say their thought immediately turned to their classrooms.
“We we're all thinking all of our stuff is there. Our laptops are in there with all of our school stuff on it. All of the teachers bought new supplies,” Flinn said.
School district representatives expect to make a decision on when and where College Hill's first day of school will be by Tuesday afternoon. They will send messages to parents as well as posting the information on their website and social media sites.