FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools has inspectors checking on the structural safety of five schools’ media centers after a partial roof collapse at one of them.
Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said on Wednesday during a school board meeting that the district took preventive measures as soon as they learned of the situation at James S. Rickards Middle.
“On Friday, I instructed those schools to proactive close down their media centers and adjacent classrooms until those areas undergo a structural safety inspection,” Runcie said.
The four other schools are Apollo Middle School at 6800 Arthur St., in Hollywood; Lauderdale Lakes Middle School at 3911 NW 30th Ave., in Lauderdale Lakes; Plantation Middle School at 6600 W. Sunrise Blvd., in Plantation; and Lauderhill 6-12 STEM-MED Magnet School at 1901 NW 49th Ave., in Lauderhill.
Runcie said three firms are conducting independent investigations to figure out what caused the structure at James S. Rickards Middle to collapse. Severe weather caused more damage to the school’s media center.
“Part of the roof had been compromised and over the weekend another portion of the same slab fell down,” Runcie said.
Anna Fusco, the president of the Broward Teachers Union, said that while no one was seriously injured at James S. Rickards Middle School the experience was traumatic.
“Kids were trapped. Kids got hurt,” Fusco said during the school board meeting. “Teachers were trapped. Teachers got hurt.”
Runcie said he is aware of the situation and he directed staff to work with those who were affected.