When an Eastwood Elementary School teacher reported some condensation on a door window at the school over Christmas break, Eastwood Elementary School Principal Jennifer Thompson wasn’t overly concerned at first.
That changed once she arrived at the school to investigate the report.
“I opened the door and sauna doesn’t even begin to describe it, the whole room was steamed and it was so hot you almost couldn’t even go in, and it quickly steamed up the windows on both ends of the hallway, and hot water was covering the floor,” Thompson said. “I just closed the door and called my site operator.”
A pipe that carries hot water for the old heating system had burst and flooded the room.
“We don’t know how long the room was flooded,” said Lee Paterson, interim superintendent for the Roseburg School District. “But it was pumping hot water onto the floor and the steam that was generated from the boiler was rising in the room and when it was discovered, we opened the door and the light fixtures were full of water, the pipe was broken, water was flowing and paint was peeling off the walls.”
The combination of hot water and steam caused extensive damage to the classroom.
“Everything that was wood, was ruined, and even the particle board was puffed up,” Thompson said.
School officials are grateful the damage was contained almost totally to the one classroom. Tracy Grauf, physical plant manager for the district, estimated the cost of the cleanup could be as high as $10,000.
Grauf said all new furniture in the classroom had to be replaced.
“Unfortunately, it was all new furniture, it couldn’t just damage some old stuff that needed replaced,” Grauf said.
Despite the damage, it’s been minimal disruption for the school.
Warmouth’s first-grade class moved to another part of the building while repairs are being made.
“We had to make arrangements, but people here are so flexible and accommodating, and luckily we had a classroom available, so Mrs. Warmouth was able to move her class over to that classroom while they fixed it,” Thompson said. “ServPro was here within about an hour of when we found it, with the dehumidifiers and fans started cleanup right away.”
Grauf said mold testing and air quality testing still has to be done, but school district officials are hopeful that the room and all the furnishings will be ready for use by the students next week.
Paterson said most of the elementary schools in the district were built in the 50s and 60s, and it’s a reminder that they are going to need to be replaced in the next few years.
“We’ve taken a classroom that’s 65 years old and made it work for a few more years, and that’s nice but it doesn’t solve the problem,” Paterson said.