Said Byron Mehlhaff, an insurance agent in Louisa, “It was a way to sort of say, let’s just go and get our mind off what is troubling us for the next three or four hours and do something different.”
Louisa received reports of damage to 1,394 homes, according to Rich Gasper, the county real estate assessor. There was more than $16 million in damage to residential properties, Gasper said.
Only a small percentage of those, less than 5 percent, had earthquake insurance, leaving many families scrambling for funds to make necessary repairs.
“There is still work definitely that is going on,” Mehlhaff said. “There were people that had significant enough damage where the affordability part of being able to do [repairs] just wasn’t there for them.”
The county reported $61.6 million in damage to its public education facilities, including $44 million to the high school, according to a memo distributed by the county to the Virginia General Assembly in January. The high school building was eventually deemed unusable.
Classes resumed in September with a unique schedule. High school students used the middle school building on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Middle school students attended on Tuesday, Thursday and every other Saturday.
The high school, which has an enrollment of 1,380, is expected to be fully rebuilt by 2015. Until then, it is housed in the modular units spread out like a maze on an adjacent parking lot. The modular classrooms are like “a slice of bread,” Parsons said. They are stacked together to create a larger unit that might have 10 classrooms in one building.
One of those units was specially reinforced to make the weight room. Until this spring, the school used rental storage pods as makeshift locker rooms and equipment rooms.
The basketball teams played their home games last season at Monticello High in Charlottesville, though there is a plan to build a “bubble gym” with a regulation-size basketball court, according to David Szalankiewicz, Louisa County Public Schools director of facilities.
The football team finished with a 7-4 record, including a playoff win — the third team to do so in the school’s 72-year history.
“We’re starting to get our identity back in our building, or buildings I should say, but football is huge,” Parsons said. “People started talking about next season the day after we lost our playoff game to Powhatan. It is a community event. It’s the only high school in the county. There are people that come out that don’t have anybody on the team.”