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Faulkner temporarily relocates

PLAY: Students in Rebecca Taylor's kindergarten class play with Play Dough in their temporary classroom at St. Paul. Faulkner students will call St. Paul home for at least another week as clean up is finished at the academy due to a burst sprinkler pipe.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Dr. Robert H. Faulkner Academy students are sitting in classrooms at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church for the time being.

The school originally closed on Jan. 30-31 due to the cold weather. The academy remained closed until Tuesday because of water damage due to a sprinkler bursting.

School leader Janice Adams said she received a call Thursday morning to tell her that the alarm had gone off and when she arrived, the fire department was on the scene and water was all over the place.

Adams said they were told they couldn’t hold school in the building until everything was fixed and cleaned up, after insurance evaluated the damage.

The hope was to have everything dried out by Tuesday, however work is still being done to the school. Adams said the damage is not as bad as they originally thought, but there is work to be done.

She said the school’s insurance is covering the cost and hired ServiceMaster to clean up the mess. A dumpster sits by the school and blowers are drying out the areas impacted by water damage. She said they hope to have everything back to normal in one to two weeks.

On Sunday and Monday, Adams, along with teachers and staff, brought books to St. Paul and worked on getting everything organized in preparation for student arrival.

Adams, a member of St. Paul, said they looked at other locations, but the church was willing to open its doors to everyone and Ball State University supported the transition. 

So far, Adams said the students are adapting to the change in scenery and still know they are held to expectations of rigorous work, consistency, accountability and responsibility.

“When things are organized, kids can make the adjustment easier,” she said. “The staff was in here, and we organized and talked how we’d get them from one point in the church to the next and spent Sunday afternoon getting the classrooms prepared.”

First grade teacher, Ashley Scales, had her temporary class set up to the side of where the students come in and out for lunch at the church. Even in a noisier part of the building, Scales said her students had transitioned well and were a picture of resiliency.

“They have been adjusting very well because they know my expectations in a classroom,” she said. “… (it’s) basically just a different building, same structure, same rules. Just a different building. So they’ve been following it to a T, and I’m so grateful! It’s honestly been a very smooth transition.”

While she didn’t know what to expect going into the day, Scales said she hoped for the best and saw that the students were just happy to be back in school.

Adams said not only did the students demonstrate resiliency but the staff has as well.

“No one wanted to relocate at this time in the semester when there’s so much going on, but there’s nothing you can do about it ... it’s been a good transition. We may not like it, but we have to do what we have to do,”

Adams said the church has enough room and classrooms for adequate learning and a fully equipped kitchen for breakfasts and lunches. Though in a temporary location, the school is functioning on its regular schedule.