The Marshall County Board of Education held a special-called meeting to deal with the aftermath of Saturday’s EF-2 tornado.
On Monday, Jan. 13, the board passed an emergency resolution to request assistance from the state government to rebuild Brindlee Mountain Primary School after it was destroyed by the tornado.
“The tornado caused extensive damage to Brindlee Mountain Primary School, which rendered it unsafe and unable to serve its elementary students,” the resolution stated. “These elementary students need Brindlee Mountain Primary School to be rebuilt so that they may have a safe and secure building to continue their education … The need to rebuild Brindlee Mountain Primary School requires immediate action and these students will be harmed by any delay, including having to comply [with] the public advertising requirements of the state bid laws.
“The Marshall County Board of Education hereby declares the existence of an emergency affecting the public health, safety, or convenience which shall permit the Marshall County Board of Education to let contracts to meet the emergency without public advertisement; the Marshall County Board of Education requests any and all help that the State of Alabama, or any of its departments, may provide to help meet the needs of the students of Brindlee Mountain Primary School.”
Brindlee Mountain Primary School students will hold classes at Brindlee Mountain Middle and High schools. However, all three campuses were closed by the board this week, from Jan. 13-17, to allow time to plan the transition.
“We appreciate our Brindlee Mountain schools pulling together and making space,” Superintendent Cindy Wigley said. “Everybody’s going to sacrifice a little to make room for our children.”
Wigley and board members said they were thankful no students were at the school when the tornado hit. In addition to the damage done to the school’s gymnasium, the hallways and restrooms were also damaged.
“That’s where students would have been trying to take cover,” Wigley said. “We’re so grateful they weren’t here.”
The board also thanked the community for the outpouring of support they’d received from the police and fire departments, other school districts — including one in Missouri that sent books for the school’s library — and several local churches that have provided lunches to workers cleaning up the school.
Though the school was insured, Wigley said it won’t cover all the cost of rebuilding the school.
“We’ve done everything we can do on our end to cover the loss, however, when you have a building that’s built in 1977 and you build back with today’s standards and codes … it’s going to be quite a different price,” she said.
The board is working to set up an account with Citizens Bank for people to be able to donate to the rebuilding effort. It also plans to release a list of items needed for students.
“We are survivors in Marshall County,” Wigley said. “We have salt of the earth people here that are going to pull together and make sure things get done as soon as possible for our children, and they’re already doing it as we speak.”