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Classes could resume at Lanett High Friday

LANETT — Classes could resume at Lanett High on Friday, pending a thorough review of the building’s utilities to see if the building is safe for utility service to fully resume.

“We have to make sure there are no hidden lines we didn’t know about,” Lanett Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen said.

Electrical service is OK, but water and natural gas inspectors were at the school on Thursday to give their final approval.

“The lack of gas has been the main problem for us the past few days,” Superintendent Jennifer Boyd told The Valley Times-News. “We can’t have students in a building that’s not heated.”

Should the gas inspector give his approval, the gas would be turned back on and the building could be heated once more. 

“We will post messages on our Facebook page and on our district and school websites,” Boyd said. “We will also be making robocalls telling people the school will be open on Friday.”

Teachers, staff and students at Lanett High and Lanett Junior High have had a hectic week. The 7:50 a.m. Monday fire in the field house area on the far end of the campus caused a major disruption. An emergency operation plan went into effect on Monday morning. The students were transferred from the school to the Lanett Church of Christ, which is located across South 13th Street from LHS. Approximately 120 junior high students held their classes in the church fellowship hall with an estimated 220 high school students having classes in the sanctuary.

“We want to thank the Church of Christ for their hospitality,” Boyd said. “We also want to thank them for their long-time cooperation with our emergency operation plan.”

Under this plan, the church opens its doors to the high school to serve as a shelter during an emergency. Classes can continue, and the students do not lose a day of instruction.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the high school and junior high reverted to virtual learning. 

“It was a seamless transition to make since we’d done this for the first nine weeks because of Covid-19,” Boyd said.

The Monday fire destroyed coaches’ offices, a film room, weight room and locker room area. The adjacent Lanett High gym sustained some minor smoke damage but was otherwise spared.

A dollar amount on replacing the school field house will be determined next week. Chief Allen is of the opinion that an entire rebuild is in order. He questions the stability of fire-damaged concrete blocks in a rebuild.

There has been an outpouring of support on behalf of Lanett High alumni and Panther fans in building back a field house.

School Principal Bryant Lumpkin wants to thank everyone for their kindness and school spirit. 

“Thank you for the overwhelming support we have received since the very unfortunate fire incident on Monday, Feb. 1,” he said. “Many have expressed their desire to help our athletic department recover in some way.”

Cash, money orders, business or cashier’s checks payable to Lanett High School are being accepted. They may be mailed to: Lanett High School, Attention: Athletic Donations, 1301 South 8th Avenue, Lanett, AL 36863.