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School roofs inspection update: Sisters says all clear


The Sisters School District said Friday it has done a new inspection of schools and they are safe to resume classes next Tuesday, as well as evening and weekend activities.

“This morning we met with a structural engineering firm working on our bond project and again inspected and reviewed structural plans of all of our schools and performed walk-through visual inspections for potential stress points throughout the district,” the announcement said.

“Additionally, we have removed snow from the roof at the elementary school, our oldest school building. Through this work, we have determined that the Sisters schools are safe and school will resume on Tuesday, January 17th.

“Also, all evening and weekend activities that were scheduled in our buildings are on as scheduled. If you have any questions about activities or athletic events, please contact your coach, club advisor, SHS athletic director, or SPRD.”

Sisters Schools Superintendent Curtiss Scholl also sent to parents Friday a revised scheduled to gain back some of the record seven school days canceled due to the snow and slick roads. Some conference days have been canceled, with finals schedule modified.

Bend-La Pine Schools held a board meeting late Thursday at Pacific Crest Middle School to discuss what comes next, in the wake of a frightening elementary school gym collapse, to make sure schools are safe for students and staff in the wake of heavy snow piled up on roofs throughout the region..

The district canceled classes and after-school activities Friday, giving officials more time to assess each campus and the next step. Redmond and Sisters schools took the same step, while Bend’s Waldorf School was closed to complete removal of snow on the roof. St. Thomas Academy also was closed, officials said.

Bend-La Pine administrators met with a roofing consultant and engineers.

“They’re going to come back to us and let us know:is it safe to go in? Do they red tag it, which is the phrase that they’re using? And let us know what needs to be done in those school facilities,” Director of Communications Julianne Repman explained. “Whether we should go back or not or could go back.”

The engineers highlighted Buckingham R.E. Jewell and Juniper elementary schools, La Pine High School and the Education Center in downtown Bend as having potential roof snow load issues.

At the school board meeting, they discussed some alternate locations for classes.

“We’re talking about (if) we (can) move schools to another location,” Repman said. “A public building, for example — have school there. Everything is on the table at this point. If we find out that we cannot go back into a school, we will not go back into that school until it’s safe.”

All Bend-La Pine school facilities were cleared of students by 11 a.m. Thursday. Repman is among the many glad it was only the building that was lost.

“It’s really a scary thing to think about the what-ifs, and we’re so thankful that there wasn’t anything worse,” she said. “We lost a building, and that’s a piece of our history in this community. But we’re so pleased and so happy and so thankful that everybody’s okay.”

Repman said she could not confirm if classes will resume next Tuesday. All schools are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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