Tornado-ravaged Fayetteville school to reopen by mid-September

Posted August 3, 2011 9:26 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2011 10:38 a.m. EDT

— Students of Fayetteville's Ben Martin Elementary School will be back in their old classrooms by the middle of September, officials said Wednesday.

The school on Reilly Road was heavily damaged on April 16 when a cluster of tornadoes barreled across central and eastern North Carolina.

Parts of the school's roof were ripped off, and heavy rains soaked everything inside. Cumberland County Schools officials estimated the damage at $5.2 million.

Students finished the school year at the Ramsey Street Alternative School and the old Hillsborough Elementary School. That's where they will likely start classes later this month for the 2011-12 year.

District officials said, however, that crews are working so rapidly – the initial date to reopen the school had been in December – that repairs might be finished by the time the new school year starts on Aug. 25. Officials expect to meet with the contractor in the coming days and will decide by Aug. 15 when students can return to Ben Martin Elementary.