The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 5, 2011

Damage estimate to Joplin schools rises to $151 million

By Roger McKinney
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin School District’s estimate of the cost of repairing or replacing its tornado-damaged buildings continues to rise.

A new estimate as of Friday was $151 million. Superintendent C.J. Huff and his administrative team met Friday with Gov. Jay Nixon and his team, insurance adjusters, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and representatives with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. Chris Nicastro, Missouri commissioner of education, also was part of the discussion.

The conversations resulted in a determination that the school district’s buildings sustained roughly $151 million in damage.

Immediately after the tornado, Huff had put the estimate at between $80 million and $100 million. On Thursday, he updated the estimate to between $125 million and $150 million.

Surprisingly, one of the buildings the insurance company has not yet determined to be a loss is Joplin High School. A final determination won’t be made until Wednesday, said district spokeswoman Kim Vann.

“We feel it’s a total loss,” Vann said of the high school. She said the insurance adjusters had not had an opportunity to inspect the high school building, but Huff is confident that when they see the damage, the site will be declared a loss.

The insurance company has declared Irving Elementary School and Franklin Technology Center, immediately adjacent to the high school, as destroyed.

Besides the high school, other buildings waiting for a determination are the old South Middle School building, Emerson Elementary School and East Middle School.

Cecil Floyd Elementary School and the Roi S. Wood Administration Building sustained heavy damage.

Sustaining minor damage were Kelsey Norman, Duquesne and Duenweg elementary schools.