NEWARK, NJ — Newark Public Schools suffered catastrophic damage during Hurricane Ida that required major cleanup and restoration action to be taken, according to a Sept. 10 press release.
Due to Hurricane Ida, the school district suffered the following damage: a fire, a fallen tree at the entry of a school, and 33 flooded buildings, including 11 boilers, 14 basements and 21 other areas such as gymnasiums, libraries, wings of schools and classrooms. Additionally, one of the district’s two data information system servers was rendered inoperable. In three schools, the gymnasium floors buckled because of water infiltration and will need to be replaced. The cost to fix the damage is currently estimated at $5 million, and does not include the replacement of instructional supplies, equipment and building systems.
To combat these issues immediately, equipment for the removal of water was rented or purchased, and an aggressive strategy to prevent the growth of mold and mildew was implemented with purchased technical services. The district implemented contingency plans as a temporary strategy to address academic programming needs throughout the schools as a result of the impact of the storm. While the majority of the facilities were ready to receive children prior to the storm, every school required additional attention after the storm in preparation for the successful first day of school on Sept. 7.
“We applaud the entire facilities department, all of the trades staff, every custodial team across the 65 schools, executive staff, principals, school administrators, teachers and staff for their valiant efforts,” Superintendent of Schools Roger Leon said.
In many instances, these individuals were at work from the start of the storm to the early dawn of the next day, and through the following weekend.
“They put the district’s needs above their own and those of their families and even their own homes,” Board of Education President Dawn Haynes said.