Water damage at Shadow Lake Elementary displaces six classes

Water gushed into classrooms from a broken sprinkler system pipe at Shadow Lake Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 8, flooding six classrooms.

The unusually cold weather caused the pipe to freeze and a sprinkler head in one of the classrooms broke and fell from the ceiling, sending water pouring into a classroom in Unit C and spreading throughout that building.

District Spokesman Kevin Patterson said that the school’s alarm system went off and the fire department responded. Patterson added that the ironic part is that the district’s maintenance staff had checked all of the buildings to make sure that the heat was on to try to avoid any problems, but sometimes things just happen.

After the discovery things moved quickly Sunday as the six classes needed to be relocated throughout the school before school on Monday morning. Four classes are currently set up in the gym with temporary dividing walls, one is located on the school stage and one is being held in the library.

The district hired Tatman Construction and RestorX of Washington to do the repair work. The district has used both companies previously.

“If it’s under a certain dollar amount or an emergency you don’t have to go out for a bid,” Patterson said.

The first priority was to get the water out of the building, assess the damage, and begin the drying process. The carpet in the classrooms needs to be replaced and classroom cabinets were pulled away from the walls and the bottom few feet of the drywall was cut away to allow the inside of the walls to dry.

Various classroom materials were also damaged, and the district’s technology staff have submitted a list of electronics items to be assessed by RestorX. The classrooms contained computers and three of the classrooms had Activboards, the status of which are not yet known.

The total cost for the repairs is unknown at this point.

“We won’t know, really, until it’s done, but it’s going to be expensive,” Patterson said.

Patterson said that the majority of the repairs will be covered by the district’s insurance. In one of the classrooms the insurance company deemed that not enough of the carpet got wet that it required replacement, but the district has decided to have that carpet replaced and will foot the bill for that, Patterson explained.

The work to repair the rooms started right away and will continue during the winter break which begins Friday. Patterson said they are hopeful that students will be able to return to their classrooms when school resumes Jan. 6.

“The good thing is how well they (students, teachers, and staff) have adapted,” Patterson said.

Elsewhere in the district Patterson described the band room at Cedar River Middle School as “soaked”, there was some water damage to a girls bathroom at Lake Wilderness Elementary, and a pipe froze and split in a science classroom at Tahoma High causing minimal damage.


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