Wall collapse closes high school in Mount Vernon

April 13, 2010 4:33:05 AM PDT
Mount Vernon High School in Westchester County will be closed on Tuesday, and perhaps longer, after a wall collapsed. An auditorium wall came crashing down on Monday afternoon. The principal says "it sounded like a bomb" when the wall came down.

It sounded like an explosion, and it certainly looked like the aftermath of one.

When the auditorium wall came crashing down it showered the building's rooftop with cinderblock.

It left what looked like a crater in the roof over several classrooms.

"I got scared didn't know what it was," said Larry Johnson, a student.

Thankfully there weren't any students or staff in the area at the time.

"We were lucky, very lucky, with this type of damage," said Principal James Rutter.

One casualty of the collapse appeared to be parents' peace of mind.

The school will be closed Tuesday as architects and structural engineers assess the damage.

But, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the building has long needed renovations.

"It's constantly in need of repairs," said Bob Cimmino, an AD teacher.

The building was built in 1964. The auditorium was actually the newer wing of the school, although it was built some time ago.

The school's superintendant says he's been complaining for some time that he's not getting enough money from the city or the state.

He says he's thankful there were no students or staff in the area at the time of the collapse. No injuries were reported.

Police and fire officials converged on the school at 100 California Road around 5:30 p.m. after the collapse.

The 1,400 students will be off on Tuesday, but the school's superintendent said he hopes to have the school reopened on Thursay, if the architects deem the building safe.