Insurance company won’t cover much of Whitehall Junior-Senior High School water damage | Local

Seen here is damage to Whitehall Junior-Senior High School from the storms on Aug. 24.

Whitehall Junior-Senior High School damage

Seen here is damage to Whitehall Junior-Senior High School from the storms on Aug. 24. The district’s insurance company said Thursday that much of the damage was from flooding, and not water and sewer backup, so it would not be covered. 

Michael Goot

WHITEHALL — Whitehall school officials received news on Thursday afternoon that its insurance company was denying much of its claim for the significant damage to the junior-senior high school building from the August storms.

Superintendent Patrick Dee said New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal informed the district that it has determined that the property damage is the result of flooding and not the backup of the sewer and drain systems in and around the building, as the district and its engineers had determined.

“We vigorously disagree with this assertion and will continue to discuss this with NYSIR,” Dee said in an email on Thursday evening.

The school was significantly damaged on Aug. 24 after strong storms dumped as much as 6 inches of water on the village. Dee said previously that there was not a space in the school that did not have standing water, ranging from a few inches to a few feet.

Mold is growing inside many areas of the buildings and walls will have to be cut up and insulation removed. The gym floor has buckled in about 25 places.

Dee said NYSIR and the district are waiting for reports from separate engineering firms to identify the scope of the work and cost of the repairs. Those reports should be completed by early next week.

The company has offered to work with the district’s representatives to determine a percentage of the property damage that came from water coming through the roof and walls that it would be willing to cover, according to Dee. 

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