MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Less than a week after the library ceiling collapsed at Cummings K-8 Optional School in South Memphis, the Memphis-Shelby County School district has started reviewing many other older school buildings for possible problems.
School Board Vice-Chair Althea Greene said it’s a move needed to relieve the fears of parents.
“Parents don’t need to have that fear when their students are dropped off each morning will the roof fall, will the ceiling cave in,” Greene said.
In a statement from MSCS released Wednesday, the district said it began additional district-wide reviews this week on all buildings older than 70 years with drop ceilings to check for signs of abnormalities.
“I think it’s a good thing we look at buildings that are 60 plus, 70 plus years old. Things can happen from one moment to the next when you have a building of that much age, and we have quite a few buildings in our school district that are very old,” said School Board Chair Michelle McKissack
We asked MSCS for a comment today about the inspections but didn’t hear back. But McKissack said the district will be inspecting at least 70 older buildings.
“There are quite a few buildings and from what I’ve been told by the administration they will look at at least 70 buildings that fall in that category of being at least 50, 60 plus years old and they do regular checks ups, but things pop up,” McKissack said.
While school board commissioners applauded the inspections, they also said now is the time for the Shelby County Commission to help pay for more new schools.
“We need more money. We need funding to be able to build new schools or to make sure that the older schools are safe and those structures are solid,” Greene said.
“Of course, we’re grateful for the funding we do get, but we want those new school buildings as well instead of having one or two buildings every ten years. the time has come and it’s past due that we have more new buildings,” McKissack said.
Regarding Monday’s ceiling collapse at Cummings, no students were in the library at the time, but three school employees were taken to the hospital in non-critical condition.