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Coal City School District deciding how to rebuild storage buildings

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

COAL CITY – Two storage buildings at Spring and Berta roads in Coal City were significantly damaged by the Nov. 17 tornado, and Coal City School District is looking to rebuild.

The buildings are located on 150 acres of farmland owned by Coal City School District. The insurance claim value for the two buildings was assessed at about $80,000. The Coal City school board discussed Wednesday during the school board meeting how to spend that money.

“One of the recommendations from the insurance company was to repair the structures as they are in place,” said Jason Smith, director of Business Services and Technology for Coal City School District. “We don’t believe that’s necessarily the best course of action.”

Based on early cost estimates gathered by the district, the two buildings could be completely rebuilt for $80,000, Smith said.

“We need to decide if we want to build a different type of storage structure that may better serve our needs in the district and the needs of the tenant farmer,” Superintendent Kent Bugg said.

The previous structures were pole barns with metal siding and gravel floors, and housed farming equipment belonging to the tenant farmer.

“The district had nothing stored in the buildings at the time of the tornado,” Bugg said.

All of the equipment inside the buildings was insured by the farmer, but the structures are owned and insured by the district, Bugg said.

The farmland where the buildings were located was bought by the district roughly 10 years ago when it anticipated large amounts of population growth in the area. The land was bought and reserved for any potential facilities the district would need to accommodate a larger student population, Smith said.

When the growth didn’t happen as projected, the district entered into a cash rental agreement with a local farmer who now rents the land from the district. They have had the agreement for the past three years.

Smith said it could be decades before Coal City school district will need to use the land for a new school or facility. Until that day comes, Smith said the district plans to keep renting the land and using the facilities for added storage.

The buildings were two out of more than 200 structures in Diamond and Coal City that were damaged in the EF2 tornado. Statewide, insurance claims from the Nov. 17 tornadoes were more than $65 million.

Smith said the school district hopes to have a more concrete plan for the two buildings by next month.

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