Cracked, sure. But is Louisa County H.S. really kaput?

New photos posted by the publicity director for the Louisa County public school system show cracks in concrete block walls (as well as lots of stuff strewn about). But do the images really depict a school that must remain out of service for the entire academic year?

Hard to say, as County officials indicate that insurance adjusters and engineers have yet to determine a final prognosis. As the fate of the two schools most heavily damaged, the high school and Thomas Jefferson Elementary, hangs in limbo, officials have released a damage tally for the public school structures: $63.8 million.

As previously reported, the school division forbade a multi-institutional engineering team from entering its buildings, a free service that might have shed an academic light on the nature and extent of the damage.

additional photos uploaded at 1:41pm Tuesday, September 6

Read more on: earthquakelouisa county

34 comments

You have to wonder whether they are trying to collect so they can get a new school(s) built without the taxpayers having to foot the bill.

never let a good crisis go to waste...

maybe the Hook should do an article on why a school that cost 3 million to build needs to be replaced with a 20 million dollar school...

Why can't schools be more utilitarian and low maintanance using standard plans instead of hiring architects to start from scratch and add in a bunch of feel good fake "green" initatives?

God forbid we put any additional money into our public schools. Why can't we just do away with public school and let the poors fend for themselves when it comes to education.

Anyone want to put their child in there with all the aftershocks we are having? Methinks someone needs a closer look and to stop and THINK ......put yourself in the parents, students, and citizens places. We are still experiencing things that you can't imagine. Folks are living in condemned homes and you sit back and question safety of a public building. Go find the real stories out there....get down in the trenches with the people.

I wonder why they wouldn't allow the engineering team in...

@Free money - you do know that the representative for Louisa County is Eric Cantor, right. Arguably the most fiscally conservative congressman out there. The same guy who said Louisa would not receive any aid unless the found a way to cut the budget elsewhere by the same amount? I can assure you that no one in Louisa is "trying to collect". In fact, common sense in this county is that the buildings are so far beyond repair but politicians are trying to keep the buildings around to save money. It would be more cost effective to put a band aid on a broken school than to bulldoze and rebuild.

Also, I can tell you first hand that these pictures do not do justice to the damage within these schools. You do realize that when concrete walls bow out as severely as they do in these schools it is because major structural supports bent or broke.

@ The Hook, I think you're pulling at straws with this "news" article. You really should preface by saying, "My opinion after looking at these pictures is..."

These don't look like cosmetic cracks - they are at the bottom of the walls and the walls, at least in some areas, appear to be bulging (tough to see for sure in the photos). That would suggest major structural damage. Sure they could smooth out the cracks, stick the kids back in the school and keep their fingers crossed when the next 5.8 hits, but if that happens, you can be sure it won't be my kid in the building. I'm all for them taking the time to figure out what's going to be safe and doing it. If they ask for 20 million, maybe they'll get a small portion of that. And, for what it's worth, I'm a Louisa taxpayer (currently w/out children in the school system, but eventually).

@ Jason, No kidding! You'd think they were asking for limo service for the students. We are falling behind in this country with crappy programs like "no child left behind". We educate our kids on how to take tests, not how to survive in an ever-changing workplace.

so glad to see a LCPS teacher voice an opinion and give first hand knowledge!

Dem walls cracked mane!!! Gotta agree wit da LCPS Teacher hurr... Da real question Hawes shoudl ask iz wat kinda person wud send dey kid to a school in dis bad shape???"

All u people saying we askin for a handout f u if it hit c ville u wouldnt be saying that!!! I went to LCHS untill 98 really that was17 yrs ago so shit happens and thomas jefferson was one of the first intergrated schools really the school look like shhhh and i am a taxpayer w two kids n school you white people got some nerve really if it comes to my children saftey.then yea we need a new school i think they shoula all been going to moss knuckles any way! But we are a blessed small community, any one want to respond my email is, natasharoberts32@gmail.com.

Can I get an Amen! Tell it like it is, Tasha!

Tasha is ALMOST as hard to understand as Huja is. Maybe Louisa needs a $20 million replacement for the $3 million school to make some room for teaching English.

@ Tasha....I'm white and so is my child. Last I checked Louisa was well integrated with White and black children. Don't make this a race issue here....the earthquake didn't discrimnate. No one said anything about white/black. Oh and really??? can we write a comment without cussing..thanks!

@LCPS Teacher....thank you so much for all that you do and for sharing facts. This is a tough time for all and know that the entire Louisa community are grateful for you!!

@Tim Brown.....If you're going to post please use proper english so it doesn't take me an hour to figure out what you are trying to say....please and thank you!

@ cookiejar....please know that not all people from Louisa talk like that.

and last...but not least.....Let's stop talking about the decisions that LCPS is making, whether good or bad and thank them for bringing our children out of this safely. The fact that no children or faculty were seriously injured is a blessing. I thank LCPS staff and administration everyday for what they have done over the ast 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to a crazy but great year.

Many high school photos here: http://louisacounty.va.schoolwebpages.com/education/components/scrapbook...

Many seem laughable and are a waste of time to publish, but then you get to the cracks and gaps in the cinder block and the big jutted-out section of brick, now I'm not so sure.

But yes I do feel that they need to be more specific and forthcoming as to the actual structural damage.

Wow, are you a product of LCPS? Seriously?

Why would a multi-institutional engineering team offer their services free of charge? I find that curious. I couldn't find the article referenced (the link is dead). I'm always skeptical of anything offered for free.
Let's please support the LCPS officials, teachers, parents and students. What a way to begin a new school year!?! Let's make sure they are safe and have a good learning environment. All children need a good education - our society's future depends upon it.

@ Dolce....couldn't agree with you more!

@Dolce: Oops. Fixed the link.--hook editor Hawes Spencer

I have had an opportunity to read the article now that the link is fixed. Here are my thoughts on this. LCHS made a great decision by not letting the non profit engineering firm in the building. There was no reason for them to go into the building anyway. That was for Louisa County engineers and insurance to do. Also, I wish that the Hook would get their facts straight before publishing. (That explains why the hook is free.) LCPS has around 1500 students, not 900.

LCPS,

It makes you wonder just what people were thinking when they voted for Cantor in Louisa. Now they are about to find out.

Cantor is right to put the entire financial welfare of the country ahead of his personal district.Its called RESPONSIBILITY. He was not sent there to steal the treasury for his constituents.

He knows that the money will be found. If he caved then where would it stop? The Feds need to stop spending and make some tough choices not just borrow for the really bad stuff while they waste it elsewhere.

At least he has the balls to do the right thing.

Honestly Mr. Spencer, I am surprised that your journalism experience gave you the level of expertise in structural engineering that it would take to evaluate the damage to Louisa County High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School based on photos alone. I have to ask why you are not focusing on all of the positive stories that have come from the earthquake. Maybe because you have not taken the time to do any journalistic investigation at all. If you had done any research at all, you would have found a community intent on helping itself. There is no handbook on how to deal with an earthquake like this on the east coast....Louisa County is writing that now. We are using creative ideas, good communication, neighborly support, and common sense. I dare any community to do it better and I hope that they never have to.

Cantor couldn't find the balls to cut spending and shrink government when Bush was in office. He was only too happy to sign every bill that created not only the largest bureaucracy in the nation and double the size of the public debt. Like every Republican these days, he is only too happy to spend everyone else's money on his agenda. Government spending only matters when the other party holds the White House.

So spare us. Cantor isn't putting the rest of the nation ahead of his constituents. He's sacrificing them for his political aspirations. But they voted for him, so they deserve what they get.

"There is no handbook on how to deal with an earthquake like this on the east coast....Louisa County is writing that now."

It seems like Louisa would have welcomed the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute with open arms if that were the case. That's exactly what the Institute does. Instead, they were shut out of the school.

Their mission statement- The objective of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute is to reduce earthquake risk by (1) advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, (2) improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and (3) advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.

By the way, the author of the article didn't evaluate the damage to the building, he simply asked the quite reasonable question "do the images really depict a school that must remain out of service for the entire academic year?". HIs own answer was "Hard to say." Even a journalist with no structural engineering background might look at the photos posted online and conclude that the school building is actually a steel framed building and the the cracked masonry plays little or no structural role. https://picasaweb.google.com/102485597550546591144/LouisaCountyHighSchoo...

@cookieJar

When the majority of LCHS was built, building code did not require rebar to be placed inside cement block walls. Some of the load bearing walls in that high school are just block. Cracked block is absolutely a structural issue.

@Tasha - I see ya gurl, not hidin - postin ya email

@Tim Brown - damn you smoov boi, had to get dat off my chest

@LCMS mom - don be @'n me unless ya kno me, feel dat???

#quakegotemactinafoolmane

"you do know that the representative for Louisa County is Eric Cantor, right. Arguably the most fiscally conservative congressman out there."

This is why you fail.

I lived in southern California for most of a decade in the 80's and 90's and rode out many, more severe earthquakes. While I understand the rarity of an east coast quake, that doesn't give cause to become haters and second guessers. If there are resources, particularly free ones like the EERI, you use them and you say thank you. This isn't a race issue and it isn't a political issue. It was a narrowly averted tragedy. This is no time for finger pointing. If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

@ LCPS Teacher and LCMS mom: You both make cogent and helpful comments. Thanks. However, Eric Cantor can hardly be called "fiscally conservative." Better to tell the truth and call him what he is, a shameless hypocrite. But voters in Louisa do seem to vote for him.

@ golds hater: Caesonia has it right. Eric Cantor voted for everything Bush wanted: unfunded tax cuts skewed to the wealthy, going to war in Iraq on the basis of false and contrived "intelligence," two unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare prescription plan, consistent raising of the debt ceiling, acquiescence in aiding and abetting fraud on Wall Street. The supply-side economic policies pushed by Bush were supported ardently by Cantor.

The result was huge budget deficits and more than a doubling of the national debt, with a final budget left behind by Bush that was $1.3 trillion in deficit, and a broken economy. Oh yeah, and a taxpayer-funded bailout for the big banks and hedge funds and private-equity partners that caused the financial crisis. There was a huge wealth transfer from public treasuries to very private (and hardly taxed) bank accounts.

See, for example: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-chart-that-shoul...

In fact, supply-side economic policies ARE the central component of Republican ideology. Eric Cantor is still avidly touting them. The Paul Ryan budget "plan" – if it can even be legitimately called that –– passed by House Republicans is based on supply-side theory (tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy in order "to proliferate the rich"). So too, all of the prominent Republican presidential candidates routinely pledge allegiance to supply-side ideas.

The simple fact is that supply-side economic policies are a fraud and a failure. Under Reagan, Bush1 and Bush2 they piled up deficits, ballooned the national debt, cost millions of job losses (often with unfunded tax credits to corporations), and led to a fractured economy. By conservatives like Cantor refuse to take any responsibility for what they've done, and want even more of it.

Cantor is like Rick Perry of Texas. The LA Times reports: "Perry and other Republican lawmakers have recently argued that federal disaster relief — such as aid for states hit by tornadoes and hurricanes — must be offset by federal spending cuts, but they have yet to make that argument in fire-ravaged Texas. The state recently cut funding for volunteer fire departments by 75% as a cost-saving measure."

Sadly, there are too many voters out there who care only about themselves. They have no interest in promoting the general welfare of society, whether through public education or disaster assistance...until, of course, the votes they cast come back to hurt them.

democracy,
It's even better with Perry, who blah blahs about creating jobs, but the lions share of those jobs came from the stimulus package and federal dollars pumped into places like Fort Hood. If he had to actually create an environment for jobs without Federal Tax Dollars, he couldn't create more than five.

But you are missing their hidden message. Notice how they say they will continue with disaster relief if money is cut from another program. In other words, they are happy to take the federal disaster aid because it helps them, but someone else has to suffer for it.

Therein is the classic modern GOPer. " Somebody else should take cuts and pay taxes so I don't can have mine without paying."

I am another Louisa mom with two kids in the LCPS school system. I am white, my children are not (adopted), and I hate that race is brought into this at all. I've lived in Louisa for 11 years and as far as I can see we all co-exist very well with each other and care for each other regardless of race or circumstances.

We are all making the best of an unfortunate situation, parents, students and teachers. It is no fun, trust me, I am single and work an hour away, so this really affects our lives and causes a lot of stress for everyone.

And btw, I am also one of those people who did NOT vote for Eric Cantor and hates that I live with him hanging over my head.

@ Tim Brown.... really? was your english teacher trained at Kmart? This board is about supporting the issue here.... not posted rediculous comments that don't even make sense.
get a clue kid. feel dat???