Denver-area schools reopen after damaging storm

Posted at 8:02 AM, May 11, 2017

DENVER – Repair work being performed at area schools after Monday’s damaging hailstorm is beginning to wrap up.

Most of the 7,500 Adams 14 students who woke to the news Tuesday morning that school was canceled have already returned to class.

All 14 schools in the district were hit hard when a powerful storm dumped rain and hail in the area Monday afternoon. Most of the buildings in the district are at least 50 years old and sustained flood damage.

Kearney Middle School, which seen some of the worst damage, was the last remaining school in Adams 14 to open. Classes resumed Thursday after extensive repairs.

Gionni Thompson, the chief operating officer for the district, said the buildings are aging and cannot withstand strong storms anymore.

“This definitely puts us in a situation where we really need to go to our community and kind of have a serious talk about a bond and a mill levy to put new schools in place. It’s just these 50-year-old buildings just don’t hold up to today’s severe weather,” said Thompson.

Meanwhile, Beach Court Elementary, the only Denver Public School damaged in the storm, remains closed. Hail damaged or broke nearly 100 windows and dislodged window putty containing asbestos, which led to the potential exposure of the cancer-causing substance.

Denver Public Schools say crews have set up containment areas around each window and the broken glass has been removed. The putty and glazing containing the asbestos were encapsulated.

DPS will run air samples to ensure all affected areas are clear of asbestos before classes resume, which is expected to be Friday.

DPS says crews will continue setting up containment areas around each window and will install Plexiglas enclosures to the interior and exterior of window frames.

DPS will replace all the windows on the west side of the school over the summer.