Westbrook High School will begin reopening to students Wednesday, Dec. 1, after nearly four months of work to repair damages caused by a fire in July.

High school students, who have been instructed remotely since the beginning of the school year, and staff members will have a staggered return and all will be fully back to in-person classes by Dec. 7, Superintendent Peter Lancia said Monday.

“There will still be a few places that are closed – part of the first floor (and a) studio art room – because we are waiting on windows, but the rest is looking great,” Lancia said.

The total cost of the repairs, primarily to address water damage, is still up in the air, he said. Previously, he said he expected it to be over $1 million. Repairs also were needed to address numerous code violations found in the aftermath of the fire.

The School Department has successfully applied for a state “revolving renovation” loan that will cover repairs that insurance won’t cover. Only half of the loan of more than $500,000 will need to be repaid.

“It allows us to access money to address things that won’t be covered by insurance because they are not specifically related to the fire, but related to issues uncovered that need to be fixed, so that’s really how that benefits us,” School Committee member Sue Salisbury told the American Journal.

The COMPASS alternative education program will continue meeting at the Westbrook Community Center for the remainder of the year. Code violations found in those classrooms were too serious to be readily addressed. The School Department is working on finding an alternative future site for the program.

Other code violations at the school have been fixed, school officials said.

“Thank you to our partners from the city of Westbrook, code enforcement and fire departments,” Co-principal Wendy Harvey said. “We wouldn’t be able to make this announcement without their help.”

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