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New Rochelle Scrambling To Find Alternative After Elementary School Closed By Ceiling Collapse

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- School will start soon, but not at Daniel Webster Elementary.

A sudden ceiling collapse in an upstairs classroom has the district scrambling for alternatives, CBS2's Lou Young reported Monday.

The clock is ticking.

"School's right around the corner and they haven't told anybody anything, where your child's going to go," parent Lisa Perry said.

The district's last official comment was online last week saying "some or all of the school will need to be temporarily relocated."

That's it, striking many as a little vague.

"It's unbelievable. I don't know what those parents must be going through right now," New Rochelle resident Julie Trumbull said.

"No answers, nothing," parent Ron Cherry said, adding when asked if he had any idea where his child might be going to school, "Don't have a clue yet."

That's 500 students and a lot of anxious parents. The district said it's still finalizing plans, but CBS2 was able to get at least some answers. For instance, there will be no partial re-opening in September. The entire student body is relocating, Young reported.

"They won't be attending Webster Elementary in September. They will be attending school at an alternate site," assistant superintendent Jeff White said. "We're looking at one of three sites right now. We're negotiating leases. The children will all be together at one other location."

One possibility is an old Catholic school several blocks away, which is partially occupied by Iona College, Young reported.

If a decision is made quickly the staff at Daniel Webster could have almost three weeks to make the move, a relatively small inconvenience considering how this could've turned out.

"I'm glad that it happened in the summer," Principal Melissa Passarelli said.

The City School District of New Rochelle is doing a full inspection of all ceilings and rooftops on its buildings. It's expected the students at Daniel Webster will be back in the building after the winter break, Young reported.

A new superintendent in New Rochelle has just begun addressing decades of deferred maintenance. A spokesman for the district said district officials knew they needed to inspect the ceilings but were shocked by the sudden collapse and heavy water damage, Young reported.


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