The burned roof of the Atlantic Middle School. (Photo courtesy Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Bartholomew)

School leaders in Atlantic are trying to figure out if their middle school will be available when classes resume in less than a month after a fire-damaged part of the building Tuesday afternoon.

Atlantic School District Superintendent Steve Barber gave an update Wednesday — and says most of the damage was from the water used to fight the flames. “Fortunately for us, the south end classrooms, the gym and the auditorium experienced little to no damage. So we’re pretty blessed to have those big areas not receive the water damage that the rest of the rooms received,” Barber says.

Barber says they don’t know the exact dollar amount of damage yet and if the building can be repaired in time for the start of classes. “There’s a lot more steps to the process — so at this time we are unsure of the availability of the building…so when we have more answers, we can put a plan to get ready for our middle school students on August 23rd, which is the sixth, seventh and eighth grade, ” according to Barber.

He says the school board will hold an emergency meeting to approve the money to get the cleanup started once they have a plan. Atlantic’s fire chief says the cause of the fire remained undetermined as of Wednesday.

(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)