Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Summit high schoolers return to campus today

Rubble, hazards removed from collapse site

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HYDE PARK - Summit Country Day School's 317 high school students, off for six days due to a building collapse, will resume classes today on campus, not at Xavier University, as previously announced.

The high school students will run through a "mini-schedule" of abbreviated classes from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. today in the Flannery Activity Center, said Jennifer Pierson, Summit's spokeswoman. Students also will be taken to Xavier for a walk-through orientation of the campus.

Meanwhile, space at Xavier is being prepared for the students. Juniors and seniors will eventually attend class in the A.B. Cohen Center, near the Cintas Center, and freshman and sophomores will go to the Alumni Center, across campus.

Once the space is ready and the city of Cincinnati's buildings and inspections department issues the necessary certificates of occupancy, students will go to Xavier, Pierson said Monday.

"They could be at Summit all week, but we don't have an official timeline," Pierson said.

Over the weekend, the portion of Summit's main building that collapsed Jan. 18 was removed, abating the most serious hazards, said Bill Langevin, director of Cincinnati's buildings and inspections department.

The buckled fourth floor, suspended roof and two sidewalls were removed without further damage to the building, he said Monday.

"The most serious hazards have been abated," Langevin said. "However, much work remains to be done in terms of removal of debris.''

Students in grades 1-8 are expected to return to campus Wednesday - but only after Summit's structural engineers and city building officials inspect the campus again and determine it's safe, Pierson said.

Both groups have been through campus several times since the collapse and deemed it safe, she said. But since the portion that collapsed came down over the weekend, they want to inspect again.

Grades 1-2 will return to Holmes Hall (a renovated gym separate from the rest of the main Summit building that partially collapsed).

Grades 4-8 will return to the Harold C. Schott Middle School building, which also is separate from the main building.

Grade 3, which had classes in the main building, will be in portable classrooms next to Holmes Hall.

Preschool and kindergarten students will resume classes Wednesday and finish the school year at Crossroads Community Church in Oakley.


E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.

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