Officials: 85-Year-Old Rockland County Building Deemed Unsafe

CONGERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Congers Elementary School, shuttered last week because of structural cracks, will not reopen this year — and perhaps not even next September either.

Engineers said Tuesday the rear wall of the gym at the 85-year-old Rockland County school is weak enough to be toppled by a strong thunderstorm or a microburst, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

The school’s approximately 300 students will be spread out among three other schools in the Clarkstown Central School District when the academic year begins Monday. That means some friends and siblings will be separated.

“They’ll go at two different times, two different buses, two different Girl Scouts,” said mother Maria Ossa. “It’s a mess.”

At a meeting, parents also expressed fears that the school may never reopen. The school district is financially strapped, and no one knows how much it’ll cost to make the building safe. The district is looking into temporarily renting an unused Catholic school nearby, but that process could take months.

“I’ve lived in Congers 40 years, and it’s sad to see our community just crumble,” said parent Rene Guttierrez.

Principal Martha Ryan tried to remind parents that the important thing is that the building’s problems were discovered before any children were hurt.

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