Despite major damage, Hatteras Secondary re-opens

By on September 16, 2019


Dorian damage at Cape Hatteras Secondary School

During a briefing to the Dare County Board of Education on Sept. 10, Superintendent John Farrelly described the Hurricane Dorian damage to Cape Hatteras Secondary School as “absolute devastation.” He noted that the gymnasium and media center in the older portion of the building took the brunt of the damage. The school’s athletic fields were destroyed, there are major problems with the concession stand area and the new press box was leveled.

“We are shooting for Monday [Sept. 16] at this point,” as a re-open date, Farrelly said, adding that it is “tenuous on the building inspector and fire inspector signing off.”

But despite the obstacles, Cape Hatteras Secondary School did once again open its doors on Sept. 16.  Here’s the superintendent’s Sept. 15 letter to the families of students there.

“I hope that you and your families are well as you continue your storm recovery efforts. I continue to be amazed at the resiliency and outpouring of support that permeates throughout the Cape Hatteras communities. Our district team has been focused on supporting our CHSS staff, students and community members during this trying time and to re-open the school as soon as possible.

Due to the AMAZING work of our maintenance team under the direction of Russ Gurganus, the CHSS staff, many volunteers and our wonderful leaders Beth Rooks and Annette O’Neal, we are in a position to re-open Cape Hatteras Secondary School this coming Monday, September 16.

We are fortunately able to access the entire “new building” as the CHSS staff has poured countless hours of time and effort into shifting classroom spaces around. Your students will be in a position to gain some normalcy back to their lives as our 364 students return on Monday to a staff that cares and loves them.

My team, our Board of Education, supportive county government and elected officials are focused on mitigating all of the damage to the school and being in a position to begin reconstruction ASAP. In particular, we have an emergent need to begin putting a new permanent roof over the gym immediately. I will be sharing a summary next week of all of the sustained damage and some insight into our overall costs.

In the meantime, as your students return to school, we have ensured that they will be in safe spaces and will not have access to areas that have been damaged and eventually in need of construction. You can expect me to continue to communicate with our school community over the next several weeks and months so that you are aware of our progress and timelines.

Again, I cannot thank the facility team and CHSS staff enough. Especially Principal of the Year Beth Rooks. You have all been so amazing. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”

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