Wed08202014

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Colonial Beach High School to be named new emergency shelter

Colonial Beach is nearing its one year anniversary of three natural disasters that rocked the beach and surrounding area with multiple damages. 

A freak 5.8 earthquake, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused considerable damage last August to the Town of Colonial Beach. Inspection of damage caused by the storms to the school’s old two story block building on what is currently the Elementary School Campus, revealed other damage from lack of maintenance, resulting in the school having to vacate the building and eventually build a middle school mod pod behind the high school. 

The two story building served the town as an emergency shelter for many years. 

Recognizing the need for a new shelter, the school board and superintendent are working closely with the council and the town to set up the high school, located on First St., with a generator that was donated from a citizen. 

The citizen purchased a 30 KW generator for his home but it was too large so he donated it to the school. 

Superintendent Donna Power reported at a recent special budget meeting that Tim Trivett had procured a large generator but it would not handle everything in the school. “We intended to put it into the high school. We need a generator large enough to run the kitchen, cafeteria, bathrooms and the gym. In case of extreme emergency, we could look into installing the generator.” 

Power explained that the generator did not have the capacity to run all the needed functions at once. “If you’re cooking, you would have to sit in the dark, if you went to the bathroom you couldn’t cook.”

It was revealed that Town Manager Val Foulds has been working with Dominion Power to try to have a generator installed for the high school, but response from the company has been slow. 

The group decided to go ahead with plans to install the donated generator in the high school until a larger one can be obtained.  

Trivett told the committee members, “It’s a 30KW generator. We didn’t want to go to the expense of installing it if Dominion was coming through.” 

Trivett explained that if a generator from Dominion came through, the school would use the donated generator at the elementary school cafeteria. 

Power added, “We don’t want to wire twice, we would like to wire the 30 kw at the level that a larger generator would use in case Dominion Power comes through.”

At last week’s committee meetings, Power said that electricians have stated the generator could not be hooked up with heavier wiring so they have decided to push through with installing the donated generator without waiting for Dominion. 

Power requested in a memo that the town council officially designate the high school as the emergency shelter for the 2012-13 school year so that citizens may know where to come in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather. 

The high school is better equipped for disabled residents and offers much more parking in the event of a large crowd. 

The council will vote at the next regular meeting to assign the high school as an emergency shelter and it is unclear when the 30 KW generator will be installed but all concerned are working hard to prepare for the upcoming tropical storm season. 

 

Linda Farneth

 

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