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Courtesy of Fort Irwin spokesman Gus Bahena
Two soldiers assist Lewis Elementary School teacher Amy Hayden clean up her classroom after a monsoon storm flooded the school Aug. 25. The school's 651 students will be relocated to temporary school sites starting next week. Refurbishments are expected to be completed within 10 weeks.

Storm forces relocations at Fort Irwin

Students on base to attend a temporary school site

STAFF WRITER

FORT IRWIN • Students of Lewis Elementary School will relocate to temporary school sites starting next week, according to a news release from the National Training Center.

On August 25 a monsoon storm flooded Fort Irwin, causing extensive damage to the elementary school on the post. According to Silver Valley Unified School District superintendent Marc Jackson, 90 percent of the school is currently “unusable.” The school’s students will move to portable classrooms at Fort Irwin Middle School and Tiefort View Intermediate School, where special education students have been attending on a regular basis.

Jackson said all the students have been place on independent studies until the temporary sites are ready to house the students.

Jackson expects the 651 kindergarten through second grade students of Lewis Elementary will be in classrooms by September 16. Second grade students will attend Fort Irwin Middle School, beginning on September 10; First grade students will start there on September 16, using portable classrooms. Kindergartners will attend portable classrooms at Tiefort View Intermediate School on September 16.

According to Jackson, repairs could take up to 10 weeks to complete and described Lewis Elementary as a “complete construction site.”

A dollar amount has not yet been estimated to the damages at the elementary school. Jackson described those damages as significant. Leadership and Soldiers of the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment removed and cleaned tables and chairs as well as salvaging other classroom materials, about 160 parents and other people also volunteered to help, the release stated.

“In spite of all this, what had really helped us turn things right-side up is the tremendous support we have received,” Jackson said. “We have so many tremendous people doing wonderful things, with one goal in mind — to get their children back to Lewis and educate them during this tough time. When I was out there last week I saw literally hundred of soldiers and volunteers at Lewis ... and all I heard was people saying they would get through this and make this work.”

Pamela Portland, Fort Irwin’s Director of Public Affairs, said the civilians are “pretty sturdy.” Portland said everyone seems to be rallying together with a positive “can-do” attitude felt throughout the Army post.

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.


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