Restoring W-F Middle School
Fire cleanup nears completion
By Angie Landsverk
Five months after a fire caused damage throughout Weyauwega-Fremont Middle School, the cleanup is just about done.
“We are anticipating that all of the work will be completed by the end of the first week of school, if not sooner,” said Drew Niehans, the district’s business manager.
The negligent use of a lighter caused the fire in a boys’ bathroom on March 25.
Since then, the restoration company the district contracts with has been cleaning up the damage.
“Belfor has been working very hard to finish all work prior to the new school year and still has that as their goal,” Niehans said.
Once it completes the work, the district can determine the total cost of the damage.
“I anticipate that we will not know the final cost for another month or two as all of the work and hours get totaled,” Niehans said.
He said all costs are being run through the district’s insurance company, which is Travelers Insurance.
The district has a $25,000 deductible.
The rest of the costs are being submitted and paid through the insurance company, Niehans said.
He said work totals must be agreed upon by Travelers Insurance before invoices are submitted.
“As of today (Aug. 28), Belfor has been paid $300,000 from Travelers for work completed,” Niehans said.
He said the district will also be submitting a tally of hours staff spent on insurance related projects to get credit for that time back from the insurance company.
“For example, our IT Department has spent many hours disconnecting computers, moving them, then reconnecting these computers during this cleanup process,” Niehans said. “All of the hours spent doing these type of jobs can be reimbursed by Travelers as claim related expenses.”
He will not know the total of that work for at least another month.
Smoke damage throughout building
Niehans said the company has been working in the entire school.
After the fire, machines were immediately scattered throughout the school to remove carbon and soot from the environment.
A majority of the ceiling tiles were replaced, as well as the wallpaper on all hallways and in many classrooms.
He said the cafeteria and IMC spaces were cleaned and wallpaper replaced in those areas, too.
The upper wrestling room was cleaned, and the district is in the process of replacing all the wrestling mats in that space, Niehans said.
The gym has been cleaned, and the wall mats are being replaced.
He said the venting system was cleaned.
The restroom was completely cleaned, and all the tile and countertops were replaced.
The district also had to replace three full wrestling mats it uses for competitions.
They were stored on the stage in the cafetorium.
He said the district made a couple upgrades within the process that will be above its deductible.
While replacing the ceiling tiles, it upgraded to a 2 x 2 grid and tile size to match the rest of the building.
That was a $7,700 upgrade for the district.
“We are also working on having two more spaces that will have wallpaper removed – and the new wallpaper installed – that will be an upgrade cost, as these spaces were not damaged by the smoke,” Niehans said. “This work will be done in the near future. Costs for these spaces are not known at this time, as quotes are being made.”