Burst pipe floods and shuts down gym at local middle school

Local News

One local school district is cleaning up after a pipe burst, flooding a large portion of the school.

A fire alarm rings at Rice Avenue Middle School at 12:30 in the morning.  Upon arrival, authorities discover that a sprinkler system pipe has frozen and burst, spraying an estimated 4,000 gallons of water onto the school’s first floor.  That was early on the morning of January 7th.

David Koma, Principal of Rice Avenue Middle School, says, “for the most part, it was minimized to the south side of the building… As it related to the gym, about 75/80% of the floor was covered in water…  [it] completely needs replaced”.  

The effort to clean up began almost immediately.  Facilities Supervisor, Brandon Chabola, tells us, “we called in a service master to come in.  They were here at 2:30 in the morning to start getting the water up and to dry everything out so we don’t have any concerns [or]… future issues”.

The water rose to about an inch in an area of the school, not only entering the gym, but the locker rooms, as well.  The boards of the gym floor are now bowed and warped, forcing school officials to close the gymnasium until after all renovations are complete.  Chabola says, “we’re looking at one to two months right now… but, we’re still in the beginning processes with the insurance company.  We’re trying to move along as quickly as we can… and, unfortunately, our kids who already don’t have recess are now without gym class on a daily basis, as well.”

The Phys. Ed. teacher at Rice Avenue Middle School, Kailynn Noon, tells us that she’s had to improvise a lot with her classes, but the students have been more than understanding.  “We’ve switched gears where the kids are now getting 30 minutes of a health lesson.  And we’re using hallways/stairs to get high-intensity interval training in.  So, we’re getting about a ten-minute high-intensity workout.”

Koma says that they’ve managed situations like this before, saying, “Well, fortunately for us and the staff in the building, we’re just finishing over a year and a half ago, a renovation project for which we were displaced and in turmoil for a couple of years.”

But, in the meantime, some of the typical school rules are being temporarily suspended.  

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