Community hopes storm is the answer to new school roof they'd been working toward

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)- Officials are still inspecting Homestead Elementary School after the storm blew off part of its roof Wednesday. Students won't be back in class this week and when they do go back it will most likely be to classrooms in various schools.

Last year the school board voted against shutting the school down and dispersing its students. Now dispersing the kids and their teachers among different schools is what the superintendent says will most likely happen, only now it's because of a force of nature and not a vote.

"I feel certain that the plan that we'll bring to the board will involve more than one school," said Pam Hewitt, Superintendent of Randolph County Schools. "But we're gonna do our very best to keep as many of the students together as we possibly can."

They're bringing a plan to the school board on Tuesday so a lot is still up in the air. Hewitt predicts students will be back in class somewhere by late next week.

The community dealt with a roof leak in the school's library last year. Now it's a different part to deal with. They just had a fundraiser Saturday to work towards fixing more of the roof... Then this happened.

"It's a sad thing to happen, but it probably needed to be done too in that way," said Connie Young, whose granddaughter was in the cafeteria when the gym roof crashed onto it. "Maybe it'll get done now. It's safer."

Di Gregorio: "Maybe the whole roof, everything will be made safer?"

"Yes because that's what needs to be done," Young said.

Others in the community are frustrated the entire roof hadn't been replaced before this, but there was still a lot of optimism.

"They pull together," said Shana Ball, who volunteers at the school even though her children have graduated from it. "Like if your house burnt down next week, they're the kind of community they'd be like 'we gotta get money, we gotta have a cake walk, we're gonna have a spaghetti dinner, let's do what we gotta do to save it.' It's really community-based up here."

The county school board will officially decide on the plan at their meeting next week. All schools in the county are closed Monday and Tuesday.