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Federal aid, insurance to cover school repair costs

Date: 9/6/2011

Sept. 5, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) will not be stuck with a heavy bill after sustaining damage to some of its buildings during this summer’s extreme weather conditions.

Almost all of the costs associated with repairing the damage will be reimbursed either through federal aid or the district’s insurance.

Beth Regulbuto, HWRSD assistant superintendent for business, told Reminder Publications that the district is due to receive reimbursement for “four different episodes” involving weather this year.

Regulbuto said the district’s $19,000 in snow removal costs from the massive snowstorms that blanketed the region in January will be returned at a 75 percent reimbursement rate.

The June 1 tornado and the July 26 storm that produced microbursts that struck the town produced repair bills “in the $55,000 range,” Regulbuto said.

“Damage produced by the tornado is being reimbursed by FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Regulbuto said. “The microburst, however, is not eligible for reimbursement from FEMA, but it is being covered by insurance, minus our $1,000 deductible.”

Regulbuto said in both storms, the district was lucky, and not just in terms of dollars and cents.

“I think we were very fortunate that there were not a lot of people on campus during either storm,” she said. “We were also lucky that there wasn’t a lot of structural damage because of the tornado. The microburst did result in some damage, but it wasn’t extensive.”

A thunderstorm that occurred between those two events also produced problems for the district this summer in the form of lightning damage.

“During that storm, lightning hit Soule Road [School] and we lost all of the septic pumps. They all had to be replaced,” Regulbuto said. “It also disabled the entire alarm system at Mile Tree School.”

The $12,500 in expenses for those repairs will be covered by insurance, minus a $2,500 deductible.

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