PARKERSBURG - Wood County School officials met this week with FEMA representatives to discuss damages sustained two months ago during a weekend of violent storms.
Officials are still tallying the full cost of the storms that blew through the area June 29, damaging roofs, downing trees and knocking power out to parts of the region for weeks. Meteorologists called the weather phenomenon a "derecho," a line of fast moving violent storms, also described as a "land hurricane."
Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services, said district officials met Tuesday with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and helped them tour facility sites throughout the county. Woodward said Wood County Schools is considered to be one of the largest claimants in the area due to it's more than 30 facilities being spread throughout the county.
Woodward said the school system is asking for aid on 12 sites, though those sites are scattered throughout the county.
"We qualify in two areas: Debris removal and damage to public facilities," she said. "Twelve of our sites had what was considered 'major damage.'"
Included in the list are Mineral Wells, Kanawha, McKinley, Emerson and Jefferson elementary schools, as well as Jackson Middle School. Multiple buildings, including it's stadium, were damaged at Parkersburg High School. Fencing was damaged at Erickson All-Sports Facility and at Williamstown High School's stadium.
"In most cases those are areas where repairs already have been made," Woodward said, adding cleanup mostly occurred in the days and weeks immediately following the storms. Officials toured those sites and were provided pictures of the initial damage as well as descriptions of the cleanup and repair effort.
In some cases FEMA officials have asked the school system to show it had improved rather than replaced damaged areas, "to prevent damage in like-events" in the future, Woodward said.
Connie Roberts, finance director for Wood County Schools, said so far the school system has received about $47,000 in insurance money for storm damage. Roberts said insurance claims for roofing damage at different sites are still being reviewed.
The FEMA assistance would only cover those areas not covered by the district's insurance, she said. Such areas include tree removal, damage to fences and the cost of cleanup, which includes overtime pay and wear-and-tear on equipment.
"At this point there is no deadline for when we have to turn everything in," Woodward said. "We continue to get updates from our (Travelers) insurance. As we have those claims filled, we send the paperwork to FEMA. We're being very careful to not have the same claim covered twice. It is a gradual and thorough process."
Roberts said because not all of the initial insurance claims have been awarded, and since FEMA is still calculating those costs not covered by insurance, a total dollar amount for damages has not yet been calculated.