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Our Coop's tornado damage being assessed


The May 25 tornado damaged the OUR Cooperative building located just south of Bellefonte and east of US 65. Director Jeff Cantrell said a structural engineer was at the building Thursday, June 6. The engineer's report will dictate the direction Cantrell will take and the time frame for building repairs to be made.
As a result of the damage, personal development training schedules are constantly changing, Cantrell said. Educators who are participating in the summer program have been advised to check their email for updates on session locations.
In a letter to the OUR staff and Board of Directors, Cantrell began by sharing his condolences to the Yellville School District on the tragic loss of sixth grader James Duncan due to the storms. He noted there is an account set up at Arvest Bank to support the Duncan family. He also noted that an employee, Barbara "Sue" Willis, lost her house in the storm. Gift card donations are being received for her.
"Our staff at OUR is amazing. You have gone above and beyond during this stressful situation to help each other and continue to support our patrons," he wrote.
He then went on to thank those who offered assistance including all 15 Arkansas educational cooperatives, all 16 school districts of the OUR Cooperative area, Sammie Roberson with North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, the City of Harrison, Ron Moore Properites, Secretary of Education Jacob Oliva, Rep. Ron McNair, Sen. Bryan King, Tim Cain DESE Facilties, Educational Benefits Inc., Anstaff Ban, Signature Bank, Harrison Chamber of Commerce and The Boone County Sheriff's Office to name just a few.
Cantrell also gave a shout out to Justin Willis and the Harrison Glass Company. "They have had a team onsite since Sunday morning securing the building and cleaning up the grounds." In addition, Harness Roofing stopped by offering temporary roof repairs.
Cantrell continued to write that after securing the building and making sure everyone was safe the focus was turned to setting up an alternative financial office. Staff are currently doing business in Room 405 located in the north end of the Old Main Building at the Valley Springs School District.
The fingerprinting program's equipment is set up in the teachers lounge in the Valley Springs High School.
Having met with insurance adjusters, their recommendation was to engage a company called BluSky which specializes in emergency response and temporary repairs. The structural engineer will evaluate the facility.
Cantrell also noted power has been restored to the building. Repairs will be done in phases. Tentative plans are to use the center offices after some repairs, but they will be for office use and not open to the public. East and west ends of the building will not be used until all repairs are completed.
Since power and HVAC are back on in the center of the facility, all of the building contents in phases 3 and 4 will be moved to a couple of the conference rooms.
BluSky will demolish the damaged walls. When that is finished the storage areas in the warehouse can be accessed.
According to Cantrell, in regards to professional development Valley Springs High School has offered space. Staff members are working hard to schedule rooms and it's looking like most sessions will be at the school with a few at the Harrison Professional Development Center and North Arkansas College. Tier I training is still scheduled for June 14, but at the Signature Bank Building. Please pay attention to ESC Works and check emails for the new site and room number.
As far as timelines, Cantrell wrote that he is hoping to be back working in phase 1 in two to three weeks. The repairs to phase 3 and 4, he estimated, to be six to eight months. By the end of July he will secure offsite office space for the displaced employees in phase 3 and 4. Currently all of the early childhood programs including ABC, HIPPY, PAT and ECH Sped are operating out of the OUR Children's Center on state Highway 7 South.