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Coping with the damage from the fire

The Creative Arts Charter School (CACS) is slowly digging itself out from the December 22, 2011 fire that wiped out two apartment buildings and scorched the eastern wall of the elementary school portion of  CACS.  The fire itself only burned the exterior eastern wall of CACS.  This damage included scorching of the windows of the principal’s office, the elementary school library, and two classrooms.

But the real damage has come in the form of water damage to floors and ceilings in the entire building.  Here is a picture of one of the classrooms on the western side of the building, which was away from the fire.  This classroom suffered nothing more than smoke damage, which has been remediated.

This classroom suffered only smoke damage

However, the finished floors have been ripped out of the hallway and many of the classrooms.  Here is a picture of the hallway.  Notice the raw floorboards are exposed, and don’t have the fine finished polish as show above.

Damage in the hallway, second floor. Note the exposed raw floor and ceiling.

Note in the shot attached below, you can see the second floor by peering through the slats in the floor board from the third floor:

The lighter color of the second floor is visible through the slats in the third floor.


Obviously, the teachers have had to spend their holiday break moving everything from their classrooms into the upper school.  This means that, essentially, the students, teachers, and equipment which were formally housed in two buildings now have to fit into one building.  This means that all of the classrooms are going to be doing double duty, including the classroom that houses the Partimus GNU-Linux lab.

The fire comes at a very awkward moment for the school, because CACS has been undergoing construction since the beginning of the school year to upgrade the facilities.  This means that half of the upper school is under construction, which means that teachers are actually rotating classrooms to accomodate classes.

It is important to keep in mind that CACS is a public charter school.  Any child from any city in California can attend the school for free of cost.  The City and County of San Francisco owns the building and pays for teacher salaries on a one-year delayed basis. CACS must float a lot of the costs themselves.  CACS prides itself on serving a diverse population base.  The children of local judges and public officials attend school here with children from many of the most impoverished neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Partimus volunteers will be going into the school this weekend to begin the work of sorting and testing the remaining computer equipment.  We will be laying out the floor plan for the computer lab, and if there is time, we will begin installing computers.  There is a lot of work ahead of us.  We currently are anticipating that we will be needing to purchase electrical cables to run power from the limited power outlets to the computers.  We are a recognized 501(c)(3), and donations to Partimus can be made by going to this page.  We can particularly use large lots of notebook computers.  Please email Partimus Executive Director Christian Einfeldt if you would like to donate lots of notebook computers at einfeldt at gmail dot com.  Thanks!

A link to all of the pictures taken on 2012.1.13 by Christian Einfeldt can be found here:


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