Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Water line break leaves BESPC flooded

September 17, 2003

An overnight water leak Thursday flooded Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, and by the time school faculty and staff reported to work Friday morning, as much as 1 to 2 inches of water covered a majority of the building.

"Everything was wet," BESPC Principal Deb Ehling-Gwin said.

A main water line, Gwin said, broke underneath the school's boiler room sometime overnight Thursday.

"We think increased water pressure from the new water tower ruptured the water line," she said.

The city had to shut off the water to the block, she said, leaving the school with no restroom facilities. The kindergarten, first and second-grade students were bused to Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, and then dismissed at 11:30 a.m. Classes resumed at BESPC Monday morning.

Gwin said two kindergarten and two second-grade classrooms were the only rooms in the building not affected by the water.

"Everything else had water to some extent," she said.

School and district faculty and staff, as well as a number of Baker University staff, PTO and community members, spent Friday mopping and cleaning the building. She said the volunteers had the standing water gone by mid-day.

"It's too bad it happened, but the response was great. The community, people were calling to ask if they could help," she said. "Everybody pitched in, not just the staff, but everybody."

A professional water damage business was also called by the school to help in the clean up.

The music room, she said, sustained the most damage. A number of hand instruments recently purchased by the PTO were discovered sitting in water. The piano was off of the ground on a wheeled system, but she said it still sat in humid, wet conditions.

Gwin said the school shouldn't have to worry about mold or mildew.

"The carpets are made out of material that inhibits mold and mildew," she said. "And because it was clean water, from a domestic water supply, bacteria isn't a concern."

She also said all wooden items, like desks, that got wet, have been propped up so they will dry thoroughly.

As repairs were being made to the school's water line, Gwin said, two gas leaks were discovered in a 4-inch line. She said the gas to the building has been shut off until repairs are made.

She said it was also discovered that the conduit for the electrical supply to the east end of the building had rusted through, forcing the school to re-route the electrical supply.

"This is the oldest building in the district," she said. "In old buildings, you discover problems."

Gwin wasn't sure what the total cost will be from the water damage, but she said it could have been worse.

"As much water as there was, the actual financial damage from the water will be minimal," she said.

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