Flood cleanup continues as schools set to open next week

ROUND LAKE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Strong storms that moved through the northern suburbs of Chicago and several Illinois counties in July caused damage to schools set to open in the next few weeks.

The principal of Murphy Elementary School said the first day of school will be Monday despite millions of dollars in flood damage. There were concerns that the Round Lake Pre-K through 5th Grade school wouldn't be able to open for its 550 students.

"This lower level of the school, the gym we're standing in, there were four classrooms down here, a music room, a computer room and library...they were all 4 feet under water," said Murphy Elementary School Principal Philip Georgia.

Portable classrooms will be used while the most badly damaged areas of the school remain closed off for construction during the next few months.

Friday, federal and state emergency officials toured parts of Lake County with Gov. Bruce Rauner, beginning their formal assessment of the flood damage in the area.

"This is the first stage in this process," said Cheria Brown of Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It is estimated that 300 homes were destroyed and close to 3,000 structures sustained some kind of flood damage in Lake, Cook, McHenry, and Kane counties.

"The village paid out of pocket almost $400,000 in additional labor and materials and assisting our residents," said Fox Lake Mayor Fox Schmidt.

Field officers went door to door in one Fox Lake neighborhood, including the home of Robin Potoczek, whose crawl space and garage flooded. Potoczek and her husband said they are not sure if they qualify for assistance.

"There's a $5,000 deductible and I don't have $5,000," said Potoczek.

While the cleanup continues, some students and their parents arrived for Murphy Elementary School's official meet and greet, where they learned about the generosity of others as library donations poured in, replacing books destroyed by the flood.

"We're all coming back to school on Monday, it's a miracle we're going to open on time, we're all very thankful," said parent Crystal Keith.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.