|Loudon High School may not open on time
By: Brittany Bailey, Reporter WBIR TV 7/31/2007
Loudon High School students may get an extended summer break.
That's because school officials must complete a laundry list of repairs
before fire investigators will allow the school to open for students.
"We're making the best of a rough situation," said Edward Headlee,
Director of Schools. "We hoped it wouldn't get to this point."
The problems began about three years ago when an inspector for the state
fire marshal told school officials they would need to either install a
sprinkler system or close off parts of hallways to bring the school up
Headlee says school leaders got to work on the cheaper plan of
compartmentalizing the hallways, which would contain smoke in the event
of a fire. But later, inspectors insisted they add a sprinkler system,
Both projects are now underway, but when school officials met with
investigators Friday, they learned the plans for the 40-year-old school
might have to expand.
On Monday, school leaders received a lengthy list of repairs that
confirmed their suspicions. Numerous items were highlighted in green,
meaning they were absolute requirements.
"If they're in green and they're not done, they're not going to let us
put children in the building," Headlee said. "We have no recourse. We've
got to get it done."
Some of those repairs include a fix for damaged floor tiles in the
auditorium, more patching between the wall and ceiling, covering or
removing most of the glass in the entrances to the library and
installing locks in many doors.
The school board has called a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at
the central office. Members will discuss how to fix the problems and how
to pay for them.
Headlee says some options are to take money from the maintenance fund in
this year's budget, dip into the fund balance or borrow from the
Meanwhile, there are some changes for high school registration.
Returning students should simply return to school Wednesday, Aug. 8,
which is the scheduled first day of school.
New students should report to Fort Loudon Middle School between 8 a.m.
and noon either Thursday, Aug. 2, or Monday, Aug. 6.