Classes resume at storm-damaged Benton Middle

Staffers say that they are assessing the school’s needs and that perhaps the best donation at this time would be cash

Benton Middle's 1,100 students resume classes, get first look at their storm-damaged school

BENTON, La. (KSLA) — It was a big day at Benton Middle as classes resumed just days after severe weather caused extensive damage inside and outside the Bossier Parish school.

LIVE- Major damage at Benton Middle school with Doug Warner KSLA

Posted by KSLA News 12 on Saturday, January 11, 2020

Now the huge task of repairs and rebuilding is underway in earnest.

It’s taken a herculean effort by dozens of maintenance workers and other crews to restore Benton Middle to some semblance of normalcy.

In fact, their new normal went off without a hitch.

And Bossier Parish School Board members got some good news during a special meeting Tuesday evening. An inspection of the damage determined that the walls in the damaged areas are still in good condition.

Insurance adjusters were expected to survey the damage for themselves Tuesday, four days after the storm tore through the school’s sixth-grade wing about 1 a.m. Saturday.

About half of the nearly 400 sixth-graders now are in temporary and modular buildings, where they will have classes for the remainder of the year.

To the uninitiated eye, the students’ first day back may have looked like a typical morning at the school.

Damaged areas now are walled off; and classrooms have been moved to other parts of the school.

Students told KSLA News 12 that they feel lucky the storm didn’t hit during school hours.

Benton Middle School teacher loses classroom to heavy storms

“Desks would have been probably flying everywhere. And, like the water from the pipes that busted. A lot of people would have been hurt,” sixth-grader Baylor Bass opined.

He explained that classroom location is not what’s important to them, especially compared to what’s truly important.

“About who you’re with and what we’re learning and what teacher we have," Bass said. "And I really believe that all the teachers are amazing, and I love them.”

Friend and fellow sixth-grader Tiffany Fort said the situation almost didn’t seem real until she saw the damage for herself.

“My heart just stopped. And I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh'."

Fort and other students take it as an article of faith that everything happens for a reason.

Benton Middle school badly damaged

"If we have more than one person trying to fix, it it’s all going to work out fine because God has a plan. And His plan will always work.”

Donations have been pouring in at Benton Middle to help replenish all the supplies and other materials lost in the storm.

In fact, a contingent of supporters from W.T. Lewis Elementary School in Bossier City arrived Monday with $2,000 in donations raised in a jeans day event that day.

Fifth-grader Sophie Stinson had the honor of handing over that check during the visit.

School staffers also told KSLA News 12 that they are very grateful to the community for their outpouring of support.

As for what other needs Benton Middle may have, school officials said that they’re assessing that right now and that perhaps the best donation at the moment would be cash.

TO DONATE

Checks can be made payable to Benton Middle School. They then can be:

  • mailed to Benton Middle School, 6140 Louisiana Highway 3, Benton, LA 71006, or,
  • dropped off at First National Bank of Benton, according to Bossier School District.

Thank you for all the love and support we have received thus far! What a fantastic community we live and serve in!...

Posted by Benton Middle School on Monday, January 13, 2020

Copyright 2020 KSLA. All rights reserved.