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Dawson County BOE hears updates on holiday flooding
BOE Development Center
The one-story Dawson County BOE Professional Development Center is located at 28 Main Street in Dawsonville, next to the BOE building. - photo by Julia Hansen

During the Jan. 3 meeting of the Dawson County Board of Education, BOE members heard an update on the damage to several of the district’s buildings due to flooding over Christmas weekend and commended several of the system’s employees on their hard work and dedication to getting fixes underway as quickly as possible. 

In a presentation to the board, Assistant Superintendent Hershel Bennett explained that the extremely cold weather over Christmas weekend led to burst pipes and flooding in three of the buildings owned by the school system: an athletic field house located at Dawson County Junior High School, the Professional Development Center located next to the district’s main office building and the family services office located next to Robinson Elementary School. 

“We’re in much better shape than surrounding school districts that are displacing students; these three buildings do not serve students on a daily basis so we can still start school back,” Bennett said to the board during his presentation. 

The junior high’s athletic field house suffered a collapsed ceiling and damaged walls, but the concrete floors and drains suffered very minimal damage, he said. 

The Professional Development Center (PDC) will be unusable for most of the semester, he said, due to a burst sprinkler system that filled the building and its parking lot with water over Christmas weekend. The building sustained water damage on its ceiling, all of its baseboards, walls and carpets, so any meetings the district would have held in that building will be moved to other facilities while repairs are underway. 

The most severe damage occurred at the district’s family services center, where a pipe burst in the attic and filled almost the entire ceiling with water before it caved in. Every room in the building was severely damaged except for the room all the way on the end, which the district leases out to The Place of Dawson County. This room only suffered minor damages, he said. In the days since the damage occurred, staff have worked hard to move all of the files that were in the center to a classroom at the high school, and the eight employees that had their offices at the center have been relocated across the district. 

Since the damage took place, the school system has contracted with Charter Restoration, which will help to demo, dry and rebuild the buildings. As of Tuesday afternoon directly before the board meeting, he said that the business is unsure of exactly when rebuilding will start. 

Superintendent Nicole LeCave thanked Bennett and several other staff members for their time and commitment to being out at the PDC late into the night on Christmas Eve, as well as those who have worked hard to turn in insurance claims and work with the contractors on renovation plans. 

“Thank you to members of our district staff who helped with facilities and relocating our staff from the family services center,” LeCave said. “We really couldn’t have done that work without all of you so we really appreciate that.” 

Following Bennett’s presentation, BOE Vice Chairperson Karen Armstrong added her comments to LeCave’s, thanking the staff that worked hard over their holiday break. 

“I know a lot of you worked over Christmas break; not the Christmas break you thought you were going to get but I commend you all for your dedication, your love and devotion to this school system,” Armstrong said. “We were getting texts pretty much every day from Nicole and we just truly appreciate you; I know we say it but we really really do.”