Monday, April 22, 2013

Fire set deliberately does $300,000 damage to computer lab building at Rice Elementary School

A more serious fire in the 1990s destroyed an entire wing of classrooms at another school in Chula Vista Elementary School District, Castle Park Elementary.

Temporary fixes sought in wake of suspected arson
By Caroline Dipping
April 25, 2013 Updated

Computers destroyed at Rice Elementary

For students and staff at Lilian J. Rice Elementary, despite a fire that destroyed the school’s computer lab and damaged the adjacent library over the weekend, school was in session Monday, but students did not have access to the library or computer lab, which share a wall in the same building, nor will they for the foreseeable future. A preliminary estimate of the structural damage was $300,000, and more than 30 computers were destroyed, said Anthony Millican, spokesman for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

“There is concern about upcoming online testing of students in grades 3-6,” Millican said, referring to standardized state testing that takes place next month. “That is one of our biggest potential impacts, which may be addressed by obtaining mobile carts of computers for student use.”

Telephones were working Monday, but Internet service was down throughout a significant part of the campus, Millican added. Staff reverted to old-school communications, making paper copies of documents and lessons and being team oriented, he said.

“I think parents, students, and staff recognize how difficult it is to get this kind of equipment to begin with, let alone seeing rows of computers completely damaged,” said Rice Principal Ernesto Villanueva. “The building is cordoned off with yellow caution tape.”

The fire occurred about 8 a.m. Sunday at the school on L Street near Fourth Avenue and is believed to have been deliberate, according to Chula Vista police. The blaze was put out within 15 minutes. No one was injured.

Rebuilding the computer lab may be synchronized with a future face-lift of the campus that will be funded through Proposition E, a $90 million bond approved by Chula Vista voters in November. Whether it will be restored to its original look and utility has yet to be determined.

One of the oldest schools in the Chula Vista Elementary School District, Rice Elementary was built in 1938 and modernized in 1996. It has more than 700 kindergarten through sixth grade students. The campus is also home to Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool for children affected by family violence, and a new family health center that provides the community with affordable health care.

Fire Damages Chula Vista Elementary School
The fire did $300,000 in damage to the computer lab, according to officials
By Christina London
NBC News
Apr 22, 2013

The fire started in the computer lab at Rice Elementary on Fourth Ave. in Chula Vista.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire at an elementary school in Chula Vista.

Crews were called to Lilian J. Rice Elementary School around 8 a.m. Sunday. No one was injured.

According to the Chula Vista Elementary School District public information office, the fire was mostly contained to the computer lab. The estimate for structural damage alone is $300,000.v Classes took place Monday as usual. Students weren’t able to use the computer lab or library, which shares a wall with the lab.

District officials have promised to rebuild the lab.

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