SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The June 1st tornado caused massive damage to Cathedral High School in Springfield. The 22News I-team discovers if the students are any closer to going back to school in Springfield.
The Springfield Diocese, which runs Cathedral High School and it's insurance company Catholic Mutual are still tens of millions of dollars apart on the amount its claim is worth.
(How different is your disagreement with your insurance company than say some people who live right here on Surrey Road who are still dealing with their insurance companies?)
"Our difference between ourselves and the homeowner isn't much of a difference except the dollars involved are much greater", says Springfield Diocese Spokesperson Mark Dupont.
"We came up with a list of damages of what repairs would be required. So we did that and based on our assessment we're waiting on insurance money to move forward." says Bob Kirchherr, Safety Consultant for the Diocese.
"We're looking at something above $70 million. We're not just pulling that number out of the sky, that's backed up by very detailed information", says Dupont.
Dupont claims Catholic Mutual has offered the Diocese $15 million. Mike Intrieri, CEO of "The Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America", a self insurance program of the catholic church. told 22News in a statement: "We have already given out a partial payment of $11 million on this claim. We have done everything we can to get this claim resolved. We regret that there is a disagreement between the society and diocese regarding the scope of the damage and the cost to repair Cathedral high school. Catholic Mutual is very concerned about resolving the claim quickly, and thought to have the dispute resolved by a panel of the diocese' fellow bishops who are members of the board of trustees of the Catholic Mutual Relief Society, the Diocese instead demanded a civil arbitration process. Catholic Mutual agreed to their request for this."
Intrieri also said they have offered to pay more than $20 million for this claim.
"We're tired of this little dance with them", says Dupont.
Dupont told the 22News I-team, the two sides will determine the scope of the damage through three arbitrators, then after that is completed, the next step is to see how its policy applies to the damages agreed to in arbitration.
"Unfortunately we don't even expect an answer to that first process before the end of summer", says Dupont.
Just driving by the high school you can see the amount of damage the tornado caused on the outside of the building, but it's not until you step inside the halls that you begin to understand the amount of work that needs to be done
Bob Kirchherr walks the 22News I-team through the halls of Cathedral High School.
"As soon as we past through these doors and and we are in Cathedral high school. These are our original ceilings asbestos, asbestos pipes, need to be removed and re-insulated as part of the renovation project."
(When you see a bow in a solid steel door like this from a tornado, what other hidden damage is there throughout the building, every connection, every pipe connection, every electrical connection needs to be assessed.)
(The roof deck itself is made out of gypsum is like wall board and it turns into paper machete and that's why it's structurally unsafe. )
(This is the gypsum, it just breaks and falls apart, that's the entire roof deck that's why when you look out you just see sky, the roof for the gymnasiums, locker rooms and auditorium are made out of the gypsum material.)
("At this point spending money to come into clean would be in vain, what we need right here is a bulldozer."
Cathedral High School students spent this entire year in Wilbraham at the Memorial School, and it's already time for graduation. It will be held on Friday, June 1st.
"If I were superstitious I'd be a little worried", says Cathedral high school principal John Miller.
"Someone asked me how are you going to celebrate the anniversary of the tornado or celebrate the success of overcoming the tornado. One of the things were going to do is graduation", says Miller.
Cathedral High school will remain in Wilbraham at least through next year. Miller says Wilbraham has been great, but Surrey Road is home.
"Our return to Surrey Road is something we're certainly looking forward to", says Miller.
(When will that happen?)
"We would like to see this happen within two years of when we finally get a settlement", says Dupont.
The I-Team asked Dupont what the backup plan is if all they don't get the settlement they want. What Dupont told the 22News I-team is that they'll fight aggressively for their settlement.