‘Really disheartening’: Vandalism at western Wisconsin elementary school delays construction into school year

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) — Black River Falls’ Forrest Street Elementary School will be closed for at least a month after an act of vandalism.

Last week, vandals caused significant damage, shattering glass doors, poking holes in the roof, trashing technology and spraying fire extinguishers throughout the building.

Forrest Street Elementary was under construction all summer.

Crews planned to be wrapped up with work in time for the first day of school in September. Because of the vandalism, that start date is no longer possible.

Black River Falls Superintendent Shelly Severson calls it a frustrating setback.

“The idea of someone doing this kind of damage right where it hits kids and staff the most is just really, really disheartening,” Severson said.

She does not have an exact estimate of how much the damages will cost, but it will be high.

The vandals damaged hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment, and the building will need to be cleaned.

The cleaning process could take up to four weeks, on top of two and a half weeks of construction once cleanup is complete.

Students who were to attend the school will have to temporarily move to different classrooms in the community.

Severson says area churches and community centers have already reached out to offer spaces.

She also says everyone’s top priority is to make sure kids feel safe and secure at school.

Photos of the vandals were posted to social media; Severson says they plan to press charges.