Vandals strike Wetmore Academic Center
With two days of school enrollment complete and one to go, Wetmore Academic Center school officials arrived Thursday morning, Aug. 3, ready to finish enrolling students. But what they found led them to instead cancel that day’s enrollment.
Overnight, vandals had entered the school and caused extensive damage throughout the building, according to a report from the Nemaha County Sheriff’s Office. The vandals also caused damage to the ball field concession stand.
The Sheriff’s Office reports that the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Nemaha County Sheriff’s Office at 785-336-2311.
Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Superintendent Todd Evans said school officials and employees have mixed feelings following the incident.
“In visiting with them, there are many mixed feelings including anger, sadness, frustration and a complete lack of understanding of the motivation for this action,” Evans said.
The vandalism comes at a time when the extensive summer work that occurs in the school buildings was coming to an end.
“Every year, our custodians across the district work extremely hard to clean each classroom, as well as hallways,” Evans said. “Much of the custodians’ work at Wetmore was impacted.”
Evans said the district has communicated with the district’s insurance agent and adjuster. At this time, he said, clean-up has begun and the district has arranged for a service to come into the school to handle some of the work.
Evans said it is unknown at this point how long the work will take, which is a major concern as school is scheduled to start in about a week — Thursday, Aug. 17.
“At this time, I do not know if they will begin school on time,” Evans said. “I am expecting to have a better idea within the next couple of days.”
This is the second vandalism to USD No. 113 school buildings in the span of four months — Sabetha High School was struck in April.
Following that incident, the school board discussed whether to explore the possibility of installing security cameras in district buildings. At that point in time, the board did not ask administration to pursue information gathering for surveillance, and the item was not tabled for later discussion.
With the second break-in, Superintendent Evans said one board member already has mentioned security cameras and it will be discussed at the next board meeting.
“It is important to recognize that security cameras may not have prevented the vandalism, but would provide additional evidence for a conviction,” Evans said.