Sarasota County Schools will open Monday, some delayed another week amid Hurricane Ian

South county schools saw extensive water, roof damage.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune | By Steven Walker | October 6, 2022

Most Sarasota County schools will open to students again Monday.

Following Hurricane Ian, every Sarasota County school sustained some level of damage, district officials said at a press conference Tuesday. As repair efforts were underway, the district announced it was “aiming for” Monday, Oct. 10 as the reopening date for most schools with some in south county following a week later.

As of Thursday, that date is solid, said district spokesperson Craig Maniglia.

School damage countywide included power outages, downed power lines, flooding, cellular and cable outages, water and plumbing issues and structural damage, district officials said.

Schools in the south of Sarasota County near Englewood and North Port were closer to where the eye of Hurricane Ian made landfall and sustained worse damage. Each school with a delayed reopening sustained significantly more damage, Maniglia said. Many south county schools needed extensive work to repair water damage such as removing carpets and drywall.

Heron Creek Middle School had the worst damage, Maniglia said, with the school needing major roof repairs, along with flooding rehabilitation. One of the school’s buildings won’t be ready for at least a month but it won’t affect its opening, he said.

This tracks with what the district’s chief operating officer Jody Dumas said at Tuesday’s press conference, where he said many of the south county schools would re-open but not be fully accessible.

The fields and athletics facilities at Venice High and Lemon Bay High were battered by Hurricane Ian on Wednesday. Lemon Bay High baseball field.
Photo Provided

When will other Sarasota schools open? Oct. 17

These schools are not opening Monday because of the extent of the damage but instead are on track for an Oct. 17 opening:

  • Atwater Elementary
  • Cranberry Elementary
  • Englewood Elementary
  • Glenallen Elementary
  • Lamarque Elementary
  • Toledo Blade Elementary
  • Heron Creek Middle
  • Woodland Middle
  • North Port High School
  • Suncoast Technical College – North Port Campus

Two schools were still being used as shelters with plans to close them Friday, according to the district. Tatum Ridge Elementary was being used as a shelter for medically dependent evacuees and Venice High School for the general population. 

The School Board in a special session this week also agreed to give Superintendent Brennan Asplen emergency authority to act to fix the damage from the hurricane and deal with repairs. The authorization will expire 45 days from Tuesday, and the superintendent must notify the School Board of any spending over $100,000.

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