Classes and activities resumed at Proviso East High School on Wednesday, May 14, following a fire at the school last weekend.
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that there were "no hiccups at all" as students, faculty, and staff returned to the school on Wednesday. Fifteen teachers were displaced by the fire that damaged about ten rooms in the south end of the building, but they were moved to other areas of the school where they conducted their classes.
"Today went extraordinarily well," Mr. Valente said on Wednesday. "We had the schedule posted on big paper on all three floors. I made an announcement at the beginning of the day. We’re good to go."
Classes were cancelled at Proviso East on Monday, May 12, and Tuesday, May 13, following a fire there on Saturday, May 10, at about 9 p.m. Local fire departments responded to the fire and extinguished it within a couple of hours. No one was hurt, with everybody who was in the building at that time able to evacuate safely.
The Cook County Fire Inspector is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire and will provide further details with the District in the near future.
The school worked on a late start schedule on Wednesday as maintenance workers and teachers moved their equipment and supplies to their temporary classrooms. They are expected to remain in the temporary classrooms for the rest of the year as work is done to restore the damaged section of the school. In addition, students who ride the bus are being dropped off and picked up near the Stadium gate on Madison Street.
Ms. Brittany Whelan, a driver’s education teacher at Proviso East, was one of the teachers who was displaced. Her classes were moved to the upper gymnasium, with a divider wall between her classes and those of fellow teacher, Ms. Mary Swanson. She credited the maintenance staff with moving equipment to the new classrooms quickly Wednesday morning as well as security with helping students find their classes on time.
"I think that everybody has handled it well," Ms. Whelan said. "We came together as a staff and as a school."
The missed days will not be made up due to the fact that only Proviso East was closed during this time, said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of Proviso Township High Schools District 209. She said that she was proud of the work that the faculty, staff, administrators, and students have done to resume classes.
"I want to thank our faculty, staff, and students for your patience as we assessed our next steps and worked to open the school for education," she said. "With your support, we will continue our task of providing a quality education for our students this year."