CHESTERFIELD, MO (KPLR) – Shenandoah Valley Elementary is scheduled to reopen Friday morning after Wednesday night’s storm hit the school so hard, officials cancelled classes.
Around 9:00pm Wednesday, Parkway School District security officers and Chesterfield Police called facilities director Mike Mertens out of a school board meeting. They told him to get to Shenandoah Valley Elementary immediately.
“It was sort of a ‘Holy Cow!’ moment,” he remembered. "The roof was just peeled off the building and was lying in the parking lot. So, we knew we had a major problem."
The two custodians inside were not hurt and helped clean up what high winds and driving rain left in the kindergarten classrooms. Ceiling tiles fell under the weight of rainwater. It took less than an hour for officials to cancel Thursday morning classes.
At sunrise, Bade roofing crews moved in to install a temporary roof cover by the afternoon.
"That will make the structure watertight,” Mertens explained.
Those crews hauled a construction dumpster into the parking lot and loaded huge pieces of roofing that had been blanketing the side of the school. Workers looked out for exposed nails left in smaller pieces that blew all over the pavement. The district’s engineering staff examined the school’s frame.
"Our structural folks are also looking at it and feel comfortable there is no structural damage to the building,” said Mertens.
Woodard Restoration crews carried dozens of trash bags from the soaked classrooms and brought in dehumidifiers.
"Last night, we pulled everything out of the building that was salvageable,” Mertens pointed to the main hallway. It was packed with books and muddy shelves. "We've got it all in the halls, here."
Mertens hoped for a Friday classtime. But, he was willing to wait.
"Safety is our top priority, and we're not going to put kids in an unsafe place.”
By Thursday afternoon, the district scheduled Shenandoah to reopen for Friday classes. Teachers planned to move students to other classrooms while crews finished the repairs and cleanup.