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Fire at Charlotte, N.C., private school destroys building that housed lower grades

June 29, 2023
Fire officials put the preliminary damage estimate at $2.5 million, but officials at the Charlotte Preparatory School say it is likely to be higher.

An extra-alarm fire at Charlotte Preparatory School in Charlotte, N.C., has destroyed the lower school building, which housed classrooms for grades K to 3.

The Charlotte Observer reports that investigators were still trying to determine what caused the blaze, which resulted in at least $2.5 million in damages. The lower building also housed staff offices and the nurse’s office.

No injuries were reported.

Head of School Chris Marblo has told parents and staff he hopes to set up temporary lower school classrooms and offices by the start of the school year.

“Unfortunately, the lower school building cannot be repaired and will be demolished to make space for the construction of a new building,” the school’s website says.

WBTV-TV reports that fire investigators say the blaze did at least $2.5 million in damage. School officials, however, said the actual damage cost is likely a lot higher.

Members of the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance said Charlotte Prep fire is a prime example of the destruction that can result when a building doesn’t have a sprinkler system. When the school was first built decades ago, there was no state requirement for it to have sprinklers.

The school says on its website that it has insurance that will help pay to rebuild the facility destroyed in the fire, but it also says, “We plan to build a modern facility that will serve us well into the future, which will have costs beyond the amount required simply for replacement.”

The school has about 400 students in grades K to 8.

Charlotte Prep was founded as Charlotte Montessori School in 1971 It added a middle school in 1998 and changed its name to Charlotte Preparatory School.

Video from WJZY-TV:

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