The floodwaters that nearly reached the roof of Clarkdale Elementary School had receded enough by noon Wednesday for Cobb County School Superintendent Fred Sanderson to personally inspect the building.
"It's devastating to see the building, and what's happened here," Sanderson said. "It's going to be a long time recovering."
Sanderson said he was "glad everybody got out safely. The building can be replaced."
"We've got a good plan in place to educate these kids, and we'll start that as soon as we can," he said. "The immediate plans are, we'll divide the school up and they'll be housed as Clarkdale Elementary School at Compton Elementary School and Austell Intermediate School."
He said the students would keep their same teachers and administrators. Furniture stored in the district's warehouse will be moved to those schools to accommodate the displaced students.
"That's our plan, and we'll be adjusting that over the next few weeks as we find out about this facility," Sanderson said. "But obviously, you can look at it and tell we're not going to be in it anytime soon."
On Tuesday, school system spokesman Doug Goodwin said, "it's looking pretty bleak for the future" of the flooded school building, which at the time was still under water.
Sanderson said he has never seen flooding to this extent in his career.
"We've had water issues before, but nothing to this extent. Nothing touches this."
One group of neighbors is already starting a grassroots relief effort for the flooded school.
“We are asking for help to collect school supplies for our colleagues and their little ones,” reads a message from two women who created a “Relief for Flooded Clarkdale Elementary” page on Facebook. “Teachers, please go through your cabinets and pull whatever you can as far as crayons, pencils, markers, paper, glue, etc. We’re open to ideas, suggestions, and any information you might have.”
Jaime Beth Conner, whose son Brice once attended Clarkdale, saluted the effort.
“The Conner family extends prayer to the Clarkdale families for quick transition and recovery,” said Conner, whose son is now in high school.
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