The major damage the Toms River Regional schools faced from Hurricane Sandy is most evident at the collapsed Bennett Athletic Center, which ripped and deflated during the high winds and loss of power as the storm approached.
That damage at the Bennett "Bubble" is likely the only site where major destruction befell Toms River Regional facilities. Eleven schools faced minor damage, with the 12th facility being the Bennett Center's collapse.
The school's building and grounds committee reported that the storm caused superficial damage to the 11 schools, with many incidents caused from high winds.
"We are fortunate that, other than the JBAC (Bubble) at Intermediate East, most of the damage to school buildings from this powerful storm was relatively minor or superficial," said School Board member Ben Giovine, reading this month's committee report.
The school district has a $100,000 deductible for any damage incident, and none of the other incidents are expected to exceed that.
Giovine said the building and grounds employees of the district should be commended for both their preventative measures in advance of the storm and then in adding in the repairs.
"We have already commenced efforts to seek financial recovery for the costs associated with this storm. We reported to our property insurance the day after the storm and an adjuster was in contact right away and came out to the sites where we had damage," Giovine said.
Skylights were damaged at High School East and Silver Bay Elementary. A transformer was damaged at High School North, where trees also fell. Felled trees also caused damage at Beachwood, Cedar Grove, Pine Beach and Walnut Street elementary schools.
Roofing as well as fascia, copings or shingles damaged: Beachwood, Hooper Avenue, North Dover, Pine Beach, West Dover and Citta Elementary Schools.
"Our property insurance deductible is $100,000 per location and the only site where we expect to exceed that threshold is currently Intermediate East due to the damage of the JBAC bubble," Giovine reported.
However, facility damage is not the only impact the district is seeking to recover funds for. For example, another expense from the storm is widespread food spoilage in the cafeterias.
"In addition to property damage, many other costs were incurred from this storm, including the cost of running three shelters during and after the storm and food spoilage from loss of power," Giovine reported.
The process of recouping these costs and paying for repairs has begun. But the district is thinking of contracting a firm to help navigate FEMA applications and seek out other sources of funding to pay for these costs, the district reported.
No estimate on the total damage was given. The district is hoping to use an outside firm to tabulate the best ways to recoup the damages, but the cost of using an outside firm was not given.
"We are considering utilitzing the services of a firm with great expertise in this area to ensure that we maximize the dollars we can recoup subsequent to this very serious storm," Giovine reported.