Round Lake schools seeking book donations to restock library shelves
Efforts are underway to help replace books damaged by flooding at two Round Lake-area schools.
New and slightly used books are being collected to restock the shelves at Raymond Ellis Elementary School in Round Lake and W.J. Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park, ahead of the start of the new school year.
Heather Bennett, Round Lake Area Unit District 116's public relations officer, said it will take a couple of weeks for administrators to sort through and determine how many books have been donated.
"Murphy was more heavily damaged, but Ellis had some damages as well," Bennett said. "We will be going through all the donations next week and the week after to see what we have."
Officials said book donations can be dropped off at the Round Lake Area Public Library at 906 Hart Road in Round Lake, where 5,500 books have been collected so far, or the Round Lake Area School Administrative Service Center at 884 W. Nippersink Road in Round Lake.
The Round Lake Area Schools Education Foundation is accepting monetary donations at rlasfoundation.com. Donations made directly to District 116 will be used to enhance current programming offered or assist residents affected by flooding.
State Rep. Sam Yingling, of Grayslake, announced he will host a children's book and school supply drive to help children at Murphy School. Yingling said in a news release new and gently used children's books will be collected at his office at 1919 Route 83 in Round Lake Beach on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Natural disasters are devastating to any community," Yingling said in the release. "Seeing the Murphy Elementary library completely underwater hit a nerve with me. Libraries are the backbone of any community, and our children depend on their school libraries to explore, learn and expand their horizons."
School officials said floodwater at Murphy School was 4 feet deep July 12, officials said.
Crews have since cleaned the water and mud off the ground, and used dehumidifiers to help dry out both school buildings. Crews have been removing debris damaged by the flooding, including books.
Experts have said the building is structurally sound and the damages will be covered by insurance.
Officials said they will do a complete inventory of the flooded areas, and have been meeting with the district insurance company, structural engineers and restoration companies throughout the week.
There could be some delay or alternative plans for opening Murphy School next month. Bennett said the restoration company is working hard and hopes to have the school ready for students Aug. 21.
"The damage was quite dramatic, but we are fortunate to have a great restoration team working with us," she said. "As long as we don't hit any major bumps in the road ... we may be able to open on Aug. 21."
School officials said there will be opportunities for the community to help with some projects, including library set up or beautification work at the schools damaged by the flood. Information will be posted at rlas-116.org as it is available.