ATWOOD, Kan. (KSNW) — For Rawlins County Junior-Senior High School alum Sofia White, the birthplace of her career in graphic design has been reduced to rubble after the school caught fire on Monday.
“My high school memories, most of them come from that art room,” White said. “There’s a lot of history in our building. It is very tragic and upsetting to see that pretty much disappear.”
“Our art room area, our whole basement, is damaged the most,” USD 105 Superintendent Eric Stoddard said.
Stoddard was one of the first to survey the damage Thursday.
“We have an auditorium. It’s kind of like a secondary gym. It has a lot of damage in it,” Stoddard said.
Stoddard says it could take months to determine if the school can be saved. With concerns the building could be deemed a total loss, he says efforts are underway to figure out an alternative location. He also says the goal is to start the school year on time as planned with no delays.
“The initial structural engineer will be in next week, and then they’ll have to be mitigation done on the damage, and that sounds like that’s going to take two months, and then the engineer will come in again,” Stoddard said.
Stoddard says the district does not plan on going remote as it works to find a temporary space that can fit up to 180 kids.
“I’m just really hoping that the people who are trying to guide this situation get the support that they need,” White said.
Stoddard says the district’s insurance is looking into companies to clean up the damage. As for temporary classrooms, he says the elementary school will most likely be used. Several local churches have also reached out to assist, but Stoddard says no decisions on any external locations have been made.