Buchanan Middle School starts late after copper theft

Buchanan Middle School begins its school year four days late following an August break-in and copper theft.
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Nearly 400 kids and their teachers returned to the Buchanan Middle School classroom today after a copper theft delayed the start to the school year.

A warm, sunny Monday greeted Buchanan students for their first day inside their brand new classrooms.

“You can see the windows behind me, they're beautiful. There's now natural light coming in, they have new carpeting, new furniture, so the students were walking around pretty excited after coming through the front doors,” Buchanan school superintendent Dr. Andrea van der Laan said.

An August break-in and copper theft at the school caused thousands of dollars to the building, leaving construction crews with an expensive mess to clean up.

“We formed a game plan pretty quick. We brought the insurance company in the next day. They gave us the emergency status to put our construction crews on time and a half and work on weekends. They did an incredible job. As soon as classrooms were ready for teachers, we let them come in one by one and work in their rooms,” Dr. van der Laan said.

Superintendent van der Laan says police still haven't caught the person who broke into the school and caused the damage. But she says safety at the school remains a priority. She says they have someone on sight 24 hours a day to keep an eye on the property. And she says workers are nearly finished installing a new surveillance system.

“People are exhausted, but it's a good kind of exhausted because we only lost four days instead of two or three weeks,” Dr. van der Laan said.

Superintendent van der Laan says the four missed days will be counted as snow days.

If they have six or more, she says they'll have to think about make-up days or bringing students in for half days.

So she, like many, is hoping for a mild winter. Buchanan’s last day of school is June 10th.