By Joshua Benton
The year’s first school bell finally rang for the rest of Wilmer-Hutchins High School.
Freshmen and sophomores reported for class Monday at Hutchins Elementary. Juniors started at the career and technology building on the high school campus. Officials had decided seniors would start school last week at the Performing Arts High School.
The shifting was caused by a June storm that caused roof leaks and serious damage to the high school. On Aug. 11, the district announced that the start of school would be delayed.
“I love the district, but it just keeps on having problems,” said Sharon Coleman, mother of Kervin, a 10th-grader. She waited outside after school started Monday morning, just in case there was some a delay or cancellation. “You never know what could happen,” she said.
Officials say it will be weeks before the high school’s main building is usable and the entire student body can be reunited under one roof. Until then, students will be bused to classes at Hutchins Elementary, the technology building and C.S. Winn Elementary.
Hutchins Elementary has suffered from the same maintenance problems that the district’s other schools have. In a 2002 report, a school facilities consultant said the elementary should be abandoned and razed as soon as possible because of the building’s poor condition. The school’s 10 portable units, in particular, had “deteriorated beyond use.”
But students said they didn’t mind the new surroundings, despite the bathrooms designed for small students. “It was kind of confusing not knowing where things were,” sophomore Crystal Molina said. “But it was all right.”