LOST CREEK, Ky. (FOX 56) – Back to school season is in full swing across the commonwealth, but for the hard-hit communities in eastern Kentucky there are many schools that are pressing pause as they cleanup and figure out where classes will continue. Students and teachers here at Riverside Christian School were preparing to return to classes next week. That all changed after the floods as the first floor of their building was entirely underwater. Now volunteers are working tirelessly to clean up and save the possessions that survived.
“They’ve knocked out drywall we’ve had to clean out basically everything all of our school sound equipment all of our gym equipment, PE equipment, athletic equipment, everything was completely underwater,” Meg Asher, principal of Riverside Christian School, told FOX 56.
Asher says during this flood, the entire first floor was submerged. The school had just recovered from a prior flood in 2021 that covered approximately 3 to 4 feet of the first floor.
“Everything has been rebuilt after our last flood, but this one just went so much higher, so much damage. You can see projectors were underwater, ceiling fans destroyed. We had classroom materials hanging in the rafters. So, a lot of damage,” Asher said.
Cleaning up is a team effort. On Thursday, 140 University of Pikeville football players were there lending some extra manpower.
“This is my home, so this right here means more to me than anything. Especially seeing people from Florida, California, Georgia. You know, my teammates came here willingly and they’re just trying to get the job done,” teammate Jayden Neace told FOX 56.
Much of the furniture is now in a pile of rubble. The equipment that survived is being power washed, including trophies.
“Oh man, it looked so good two weeks ago I was so proud. We were ready for school to start, the floors were getting buffed, so they were all shiny, had that first day of school smell,” Asher said.
Right now, school officials don’t know if the building will be used for teaching classes again. Riverside does have several donors giving support and they are eligible for FEMA money, after previously receiving some for last year’s flooding. Tentatively, school officials hope to get students back in class by Sept. 6.