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Blame it on the snow: Tri-Cities Christian School likely moving to alternate location

Rick Wagner • Dec 26, 2018 at 7:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The 200 students of Tri-Cities Christian School got an extended holiday break because of roof and roof structure damage from the heavy, wet snow that fell Dec. 8-9.

And when the grades K-12 private school starts up again Jan. 2, classes will likely be at a different location than the Blountville campus, as will basketball games, according to a school official.

“No children are allowed in the building until we get everything repaired and safe,” said the Rev. Brad Davis, executive director of operations and chairman of the board for TCCS. 

Davis said school faculty and staff discovered the problem the evening of Dec. 11 while preparing for a basketball game that was called off because of the issue. He said suspended ceiling tile had fallen and the roof was visibly lowered by the accumulation of snow.

“It didn’t collapse all the way, thankfully,” Davis said.

He said most of the damage was over the academic areas of the building, although the gym also had damage.

The school was closed the week of Dec. 10-14 and remained closed the week of Dec. 17. 

“All of our building is steel,” Davis said of framing, rafters and the roofing. “Heavy snow actually weighted down the structure, the structure of the roof.”

He said the building is designed to flex under a load and by Dec. 17 the roof had returned almost to its original level. However, he said leaks remain and structural engineers are concerned about damage to the roof structure.

Engineers and insurance adjusters have been through the building, David said. The engineers are looking at two things: the building structure that holds up the roof, including the rafters that flexed; and the roof sheeting that is still leaking.

Like local public schools, TCC “banks” 13 days by having an extended school day. So far it has used eight of those days before winter technically began Friday. 

Sullivan and Kingsport schools reported minimal damage from the snowstorm, but snow collapsed the roof of a church near Church Hill

Davis said four churches and other groups have offered temporary quarters for TCCS when classes resume next week. In addition, he said sports facilities have been offered for athletic events. He said the locations for both would be announced after Christmas.

Davis said insurance would likely cover all or most of the repairs, but he hopes donations would make up any shortfall. Since engineers and insurance adjusters are still evaluating the damage, he said no estimates are available about the cost of repairs or how much insurance would pay.

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