INEZ, Ky. – In less than two weeks, students in Martin County, Ky. will be returning to their classroom to begin a new school year. For the high school students, this will be a very unusual year due to the closure of the Sheldon Clark High School because of safety concerns.
“We closed off the entire campus,” said Martin County Superintendent Steven Meadows, speaking of the only high school that accommodates the 9-12 grade students within the county.
Powerful blasts that have been set off by a construction company working in close vicinity to the school have been blamed for the recent damage. A large boulder reportedly came rolling off the hill directly behind the school and also reeked havoc on the facility. Blasting has been suspended until further studies are completed. The building’s structural integrity has been in question recently with many concerned that the cracks in the walls and floors are getting worse. Numerous photos taken inside the buildings by school board members and local media show substantial damage, most of it being visible on the inside walls.
The School Board held a special meeting last night at 6 p.m. in order to vote on and discuss exactly what would take place, but speculations are the facility will not reopen during the 2013-2014 school year.
Based on an engineering report done on the school, some board members believe it is a safety hazard and a sitting time bomb.
“If you read the report it said that the school could not, lacked the structural integrity, that if you had a significant seismic wind or blast event the school could possibly collapse,” said School Board Member Gary Ball.
County officials say as long as the vote goes through and no opposition is raised, the students in grades 9-12 will be moved to Inez Middle School and the middle school students in grades 6-8 within the county will all attend class at the Warfield Middle School. They all say with staff and student safety their number one priority; a definite decision will have to come soon.
School was originally scheduled to start on August 7, but the school board plans to push the first day of the new year back for least one week. The Williamson Daily News will publish a date along with additional information as soon as it is released.