JOSEPH — The kindergarten through fourth-grade students displaced from their classrooms after the Jan. 16 fire will return to the Joseph Charter School campus Monday, Feb. 10.
The students have been holding classes in space rented at the Wallowa County Professional Building in Enterprise occupied by the Wallowa County Education Service District and Viridian Management.
Lance Homan, K-4 principal and district superintendent, said the students and teachers have done well in the borrowed space.
“It’s been a great space for what we needed,” he said. The ESD and Viridian have been very welcoming.”
Lance Homan, through a school bulletin to parents, noted on Sunday that the staff at Joseph Charter School has worked hard over the weekend to set classrooms back up, put some finishing touches on some cleaning, and get schedules worked out for the rest of the year.
“We have completed air quality tests over the weekend and the air is clean. We will continue to test as a precautionary measure,” he said.
Homan also noted that the school will be utilizing a fire watch each day that students are in school because the fire alarm system that the school thought could be fixed cannot. “These watches will be frequent and logged,” he said. “We have been working hand and hand with the fire marshal with this.”
The school has placed two air scrubbers in the downstairs, Homan’s bulletin said. They will remain for quite some time to keep fresh air moving and to clean any air that might need it.
Repairs are coming along for the other portions of the school facilities that were damaged by smoke and/or water. That includes the cleaning and painting of Mrs. Strickland’s and Mrs. Mansfield’s room in the upper hallway.
“Once this area is cleaned and ok’d for use to utilize again, we will open that area up. This will allow us to have one continuous walkway from the K-4 part of the building to the office.”
The cleaning crew will then move to the cafeteria and kitchen area. And after the cafeteria and kitchen area, they will move to the rooms in the middle area of the junior high/high school halls (Mr. Hite, Mrs. Hayes, Ms. Weaver, Mr. Bombaci, Mrs. Connolly and the library).
Homan does not yet have a final date for accessing all classrooms. But he is happy that it is moving along.
Engineers visited the campus early this month to assess the damage to the gym. Homan said the assessment is still incomplete.
“There’s still no word on the gym,” he said.
Viridian President Patrick Patterson had earlier said his offices were moving from their current quarters behind the Wallowa County Courthouse to the professional building by Feb. 8. However, that was before Viridian had agreed to rent space to the Joseph school. Now, he’s hoping Viridian can be relocated by end of February.
“It worked out perfect,” he said, adding that the desks Viridian workers had just placed in the building were adjustable so they could be lowered for the young kids.
“It was cool to see all those happy, smiling faces there,” Patterson said. “They seemed to be enjoying it.”