Classes as usual today at Wilcox

Parking and bus drop-off at Convention Center — The damages to Wilcox Elementary School after the fire Tuesday night may reach $500,000 or more, and cause of the fire is still under investigation and samples from police department testing.

School will be in session Monday morning, because no classrooms were damaged. However, the entire administration building will be blocked off and closed. The school office has relocated to building D, room 53, at the back of campus near the park. The bus and car drop-off/pick-up area has been moved to the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Center parking lot.

All school services are operational including breakfast, lunch and the A-Plus after-school program. Telephone service is being restored, but only one line may be in service, according to school staff (274-3150).

The building held support services offices, the head custodian’s equipment, a health room, one of the school’s three Mokihana Project (in-school counseling) areas and a teacher’s lounge.

“The main thing is that no one got hurt, it was only property,” School Principal Rachel Watarai said. The items in the building included school files, some student files, computers and a hydroponics plants center.

Three things seemed to prevent the fire from being a worse tragedy, Watarai said: Fire walls installed between the multipurpose room and the main office; the shift in wind direction; and that the fire occurred when no one was on campus.

Had the wind been blowing in its normal, southerly direction, the fire could have spread to the outdoor hydroponics tent and caught the adjacent building on fire, Watarai wondered.

The building was built in the 1950s, and damage to metal I-beams and other structural components will probably require the building to be torn down and built back up again. Demolition crews will likely enter the building by this weekend before school starts Monday morning.

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