After Saturday’s fire at the Augusta Levy Learning Center, Staci Stephen said her Monday commute was far from normal.
“You know after being there for 13 years you know not making that turn to go to North Wheeling and coming here,” said Stephen, the center’s development director.
Trying to look forward after losing what feels like everything, Stephen said the center is overwhelmed by support, starting at the scene of the fire.
“They would go in and get it through the water, through the smoke, We gave then all of our main files for the kids and their program books so that they could continue therapy this week. It gives me goosebumps just to talk about it, we’re just so appreciative to them,” she said.
Executive Director Angie Wood said the kids were so ready to get back to their school after a two-week break.
“We actually had a student go by the center and say fix school, fix school. And we have another one that they showed him the pictures of the building and the parents said he was visibly very upset,” said Wood.
As of Monday, there is no estimate of damages. Some rooms weren’t even touched, but others are a total loss. Electronics, curricula, and smart boards are all gone, but they’ll need help replacing simple things too, like paper, pens, ink, and laminating sheets.
“We have 21 students, it’s the most students we’ve ever served, 35 staff members. So we need a large space. Eventually the goal is to find a permanent home for the Levy Center, but we don’t know what that entails yet,” said Wood.
The staff is trying to stay upbeat by clinging to a photo from the fire. It shows a rainbow over the Augusta Levy sign, and they said that’s just hope.
“We’re just kind of looking at it as, you know, the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Stephen.
There will be no break in therapy for the kids, as home therapy starts tomorrow.
The goal by next week or the following is to have a temporary space for the kids to get back into the classroom.
We will keep you updated on ways to support the center.