Panel to Hold Hearings to Settle Cathedral High Insurance Dispute
The Diocese wants a new building — but the insurance company only wants to pay for repairs. Now, the two sides will finally come up with a solution.
Today, ABC40 got an exclusive look at the damage inside Cathedral High School. It looks like whether they decide to repair the school or rebuild it, this project is gonna be expensive.
You’re greeted by rows of broken windows, but inside Cathedral High School, the damage is even worse.
“Many of them were blown out by the tornado, there was water damage in it,” says Cathedral High School principal John Miller. “I’m told that larger parts of the building such as the auditorium and the gym, I’m told that actually the roof lifted up somewhat and then dropped again.”
They’ve settled into a retrofitted middle school in Wilbraham, but for Miller and thousands of students, teachers and alumni, it will always be home.
More than a year after the June 1st tornado ripped through Cathedral High School, the building sits largely untouched. But, Miller is happy to report that it won’t stay this way for long.
“I, myself, haven’t seen any definite determinations on paper,” says Miller. “I know the engineers have been going back and fort, and I know that’s why this group is meeting – because the issue is, can we rebuild? Or do we have to start a new building? And it’s a dollar and cents issue.”
Miller says Cathedral is insured for $70 million, which is about what it would cost to knock down the school and build a new one. The insurance company estimates repairs would only cost $15 million, but school officials are worried that the damage is just too extensive.
To settle the argument, a panel representing both sides will meet for three days in September and five days in November for a series of hearings. The panel hopes to reach a decision — repair or rebuild — by the beginning of December. Miller says, whatever they decide, he’s looking forward to moving back home.
“I am looking forward to getting back into Springfield, which is really where Cathedral came from,” says Miller. “It’s been in Springfield for 128 years and we’d like to continue that tradition, as soon as we can.”
School officials are hoping that the repaired or rebuilt Cathedral High School will be ready for students by Fall of 2014.