Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.
Trevilians Elementary gym shut down due to damage
The Trevilians Elementary School gymnasium was closed immediately Friday after an engineering firm told Louisa County school officials that they found new cracks in the walls.
Engineering Firm Dewberry and Davis, which has been inspecting and monitoring Louisa’s school facilities ever since the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit on Aug. 23, said the gymnasium should not be used until repairs could be made.
Both Trevilians Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Elementary, which was severely damaged by the earthquake, were both utilizing the Trevilians gym for physical education classes.
“The safety of our students is of the utmost importance,” said school spokeswoman Jaclyn O’Laughlin.
Physical education teachers will now hold classes outside or in other areas of the school as determined by the administration until repairs are completed, she said.
Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded $19 million to Louisa High School to fix structural damages. Earlier this month, Thomas Jefferson received $3.2 million to repair damages.
In addition, FEMA has approved more than $13 million in federal grants through the Individual and Households programs, which has approved 5,489 applications as of Sunday evening. More than $3.8 million in loans by the U.S. Small Business Administration have been approved.
The deadline for individuals to register for state and federal assistance to help cover earthquake-related losses is one week away—March 5.
Counties designated for disaster assistance are Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Goochland, King George, Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania as well as the City of Fredericksburg.
Aid is available for renters, homeowners and business owners whose property was damaged in the earthquake Aug. 23 and the subsequent aftershocks. The financial assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing needs, essential home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses that aren’t covered by insurance or other sources.
Nearly 5,600 home inspections have been completed of the 7,300 requested and more than 4,300 people visited one of the two Disaster Recovery Centers in Louisa or Spotsylvania counties before they closed on Feb. 11.
Residents and business owners in the designated localities can register for aid, get information about assistance programs and follow up on their applications by going online to disasterassistance.govor calling 800/621-FEMA ( or 800/462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments).
Telephone registration is available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Applicants are reminded to keep their FEMA information updated, but not to register twice. Duplicate registrations will delay processing.