It could now cost $16,000 to fix broken Copeland school windows

Michael Holahan/Staff
Vandals broke 158 windows at Copeland Elementary School on Thursday.

Richmond County school officials have revised their cost estimate to repair the 158 windows found smashed at Copeland Elementary School Christmas Eve.

The new cost as determined this afternoon is now at $16,000, said school system spokesman Louis Svehla. He said earlier today that new replacement windows won’t all be installed before classes resume after the holidays.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Paul Evans, of the Richmond County sheriff’s property crimes division, said today they had not made an arrest in the case and are trying to determine whether there is any surveillance video of the incident.

Two adolescents, age 9 and 13, seen walking through the parking lot carrying metal poles were questioned by police, but they denied breaking the windows, saying they had seen two people with baseball bats damaging the windows earlier.

Richmond County schools spokesman Louis Svehla said the first orders for new windows were likely being placed today.

“We had to order some glass,” he said. “Just like everything with the holidays, it’s going to take a little longer (than normal).”

He said school system workers initially used some glass window material they already had on hand to seal some of the broken windows. Other windows, though, had to be boarded up with wood. Mr. Svehla said all window openings are now sealed, preventing easy access into the school, located on Jackson Road in Augusta.

In an effort to keep costs down, Mr. Svehla said the school system will forego any additional holiday overtime this week to have new windows replaced more quickly, instead waiting until the full workforce returns on Monday.

Already, he said overtime has occurred with workers initially being at the scene from Christmas Eve night until 2 a.m. Christmas morning and with the work to seal window openings.

Mr. Svehla said it also will take longer to replace the windows because the school is older, noting that grooves would have to be cut out and that windows couldn’t be easily dropped in like would be the case at a newer school.

He said the $16,000 cost estimate includes new window expenses as well as some overtime. He said the school system has a budget for repairs, but that while facing a budget crunch amid state cuts it's looking to keep costs down by reigning in additional overtime.

Staff Writer Adam Folk contributed to this article

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