Flood Damage Creates Frantic Race to Repair St. Theresa’s Ahead of School Year

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  FEMA is expected to start surveying damage this week after floods destroyed metro homes and businesses.

Officials tallied more than 6,000 affected homes and nearly 80 commercial properties, and they warn it could take months before the properties are restored. A local school hopes to finish its cleanup and repairs in a matter of weeks.

Classes at St. Theresa Catholic School will be back in session in about a month--and that's a deadline Principal Ellen Stemler hopes to meet.

"We lost a lot of ceiling tiles. The water came in through the roof and pretty much demolished our office and the classrooms underneath the office," she says.

A total dollar amount in damages has not yet been totaled, but regardless of the cost everything needs to be replaced. Parents, students, and teachers are now teaming up to helping to move salvageable items into storage units. Stemler has jokingly named the group of volunteers "Team Theresa."

"Okay, this happened. We can't change whats happened, so how do we handle this and move forward," Stemler says.

Teaching veteran Lana Duff is starting over. Her classroom has been her home away from home for the last 24 years, and the process of throwing away damaged supplies has been emotional. However, she's more worried about how her students will respond when the school year begins.

"They need to have a safe and stable environment, a safe environment where they know what expect so they are free to learn. I just hope we can have it all settled for when they come in," Duff says.

The building was deemed safe after being inspected for mold and asbestos. Classes are scheduled to start on August 23rd.

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