Damage estimate at YHS climbing

The damage estimates on vandalism at Youngsville High School have increased by almost three times in three days and are likely to go much higher.

Three former YHS students were arrested and charged Sunday for extensive vandalism inside the school and at the adjacent football field press box.

An initial report from Pennsylvania State Police included a minimum “conservative estimate” of $50,000 in damages.

At Wednesday’s special meeting of the Warren County School District’s board of directors, Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht updated the board on the damages and the progress toward cleaning up.

“The company that has been working on the estimate of just the cleaning of the dust threw out a number, but the insurance company has not approved that number,” Kennerknecht said. That number exceeds $139,000.

The vandals discharged a majority of the fire extinguishers in the building, according to Quality Assurance Manager Boyd Freeborough.

Most of those fired a corrosive chemical into the air which fell onto anything in the room where they were discharged – floors, desks, counters, books, computers, etc.

The dust itself must be cleaned up, but the corrosive nature of the dust means the electronics throughout the building could be damaged.

No estimates for the cost in lost electronics was available at the meeting.

The company’s estimate also did not include cleaning and replacing portions of the building’s fire alarm system and having every portion of the system recertified.

The vandals also spray painted items including smartboards, computer monitors, desks, chalkboards, a refrigerator, tables, doors, walls and lockers. A cleaning estimate for that work as well as the repair of any physical damage – at least one window was broken – has not been established.

The district will be able to quickly move forward with cleaning and repairing the building, Kennerknecht said. The insurance company will name itself the contractor and will hire subcontractors as needed. If the district were the lead contractor, state law would require more documentation, advertisement for bids, board approval of bids, meeting prevailing wage requirements, and other mandates, he said.

“This will speed it up by five… six weeks,” Kennerknecht said.