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Tri-Valley schools resume classes after storm damage

Debris and damage weren’t hard to find at the Tri-Valley school district Thursday. Immediately, school administration started to wonder when they'd be back.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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COLTON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A monumental cleanup effort at the Tri-Valley school district was needed after the school received storm damage. But thanks to the effort of staff and businesses, the school is back open with students looking to finish the year strong.

Debris and damage weren’t hard to find at the Tri-Valley school district Thursday. Immediately, school administration started to wonder when, or if, they’d be able to bring students back in.

“Truthfully I had a pit in my stomach Thursday night. I was wondering how people were doing, obviously. But from the school’s stance, I wasn’t sure if we were going to be back in school this year.” said Tri-Valley school district Superintendent Mike Lodmel.

After Thursday’s storm damage at Tri-Valley High School, the commons area didn’t have a roof. But already on Tuesday, that roof is back on and classes have resumed at the high school.

But that didn’t come without many hours of hard work. Tri-Valley Superintendent Mike Lodmel says immediately they needed to line up every service that they could get... to make sure it was even safe to be in the building before thinking about what comes next.

“So Friday morning, we met with our entire administrative team, structural engineers, architects, electricians, our fire alarm company, a construction company. We walked through, assessed everything. Once we knew that we were safe to be in the building, then it was getting the game plan to continue on.” said Lodmel.

Then the cleanup began. Lodmel says over 120 staff and faculty members became a part of the cleanup effort. In the end, they only missed one day of school due to the damage, and are still scheduled to finish the year on time.

“Got together with all of the teachers on Monday, and we just crushed it. The staff here is amazing.” said Tri-Valley school district Facilities Manager Sean Coughlin.

The commons area still needs some work, and Lodmel says they won’t be able to use it for at least a week. But students were more than happy to return to school. Getting ready to finish the year next week, and for graduation on Saturday.

“When you get towards the end of a school year, everybody’s ready to be done, both staff and students. But they’re not ready to be done like this. We want to finish the school year how we planned to finish the school year.” said Lodmel.

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