UPDATE: Officials said the school would remain closed pending an engineer evaluation of the remainder of the school.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Fire Department responded to Cummings K-8 school in South Memphis where officials say part of the interior of a building collapsed Monday.
The fire department said part of the library ceiling fell. A librarian, who was the only person in the library at the time, was taken to Regional One hospital in non-critical condition. Two other adults were taken to hospitals as a precaution.
WREG found out that contractors were doing work on the roof.
No children were injured. Students were evacuated to nearby Metropolitan Baptist Church as a precaution.
Memphis-Shelby County Schools said in a statement:
“As a result, Cummings students will attend school at LaRose Elementary for the rest of this week. The address is 864 Willoughby.
Arrival time is 8:15am. School is from 8:30am to 3:30pm. MSCS is offering buses from Cummings to LaRose for arrival and dismissal, but parent drop-off straight to LaRose is encouraged and would be appreciated.”
Michelle MicKissack, chairwoman of the Memphis Shelby County Schools board, said the incident highlights the need for funding for newer school buildings in the district.
District officials said the building was built in 1961. The building would be assessed, and student safety was their top priority, officials said.
Interim Superintendent Angela Whitelaw said building safety is crucial to the district.
“I think that building safety to your point is critical and crucial, definitely we will be assessing this particular issue and making sure that our students are safe. But that is our number one goal other than academic achievement,” she said.
MSCS Board Chairwoman Michelle McKissack added that the district has been seeking funding to help maintain the schools.
“I think this is a classic example, we have a lot of old buildings within our school district. We certainly have been seeking funding from every direction, our county commission to help us with differed maintenance and we need new schools within our school districts so we can’t continue to fund at the same levels that we have been funding. We appreciate it but we need so much more to make a difference,” McKissack said.
Cummings K-8 was the scene of another evacuation in September 2021, after a 13-year-old shot another student inside the school. The student survived.