Tornado damaged schools in Greensboro still closed months after storm (copy)

Hampton Elementary, shown here Oct. 9, was one of three elementary schools seriously damaged by a tornado last April.

GREENSBORO — After about a year of negotiations with its insurance company, Guilford County Schools said late Thursday it will get $10.1 million for the damage to three schools in the April 2018 tornado.

The three elementary schools — Erwin Montessori, Hampton and Peeler Open — have been sharing space with other district schools since shortly after the tornado.

“The schools were not in good shape prior to the tornado, so we knew going into negotiations that securing enough money to replace them wasn’t likely,” Scott McCully, the district’s chief operating officer, said in a release.

All three schools received poor ratings from a review of district facilities by Tampa, Fla.-based MGT Consulting Group released earlier this year. The company looked at not just the physical condition of schools and their property, but also whether the buildings meet the needs of a modern education.

Given the condition of these three schools before the tornado, McCully said the district was pleased with the settlement.

“If you total a used car, you get less money than you would if you total a new car. The same is true for facilities,” McCully said in the release, noting that nearly 50 percent of the district's schools were rated as being in either poor or unsatisfactory condition on the recent study. Only 35 percent of school buildings were assessed as being in either good or excellent condition. The average school in the district is more than 50 years old.

The Guilford County Board of Education voted May 14 to close Hampton permanently, citing in part the condition of the building. The school also is near a former landfill monitored by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

The district plans to use part of the insurance proceeds from Travelers Indemnity Corporation (Travelers) to design a new Hampton-Peeler School for East Greensboro, with the rest coming from a future bond issue.

The district said the cost to build a new elementary in the state last year ranged from $13.9 million to $29.6 million, depending on size.

The new Hunter Elementary in Greensboro, which opened in 2017, cost about $19 million.

Guilford County voters last approved a school facilities bond in 2008 for $457 million. Since then, school leaders have been working through a series of projects, debuting new school buildings and making other small renovations. The last school construction project using money from that pool is scheduled for completion this year.

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Contact Jennifer Fernandez at 336-373-7064.​

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