A serious flood has destroyed one classroom, left another unusable in the short term, and caused water damage throughout Myrtle Philip Community School.
"It is devastating, but it could have been worse," said school principal Ron Albertin of the Saturday afternoon flood.
The Howe Sound School Board has decided that the school will be closed on Monday March 20 th to allow restoration work to continue.
There will also be a meeting for concerned parents on Monday night at 7 p.m. at the school to discuss any issues arising from the flood.
It’s believed the flood was caused when a fitting on the main school water pipe separated. The pipe is about 20 cm in diameter, with water pressure of 175 psi. When the fitting failed it allowed up to two million litres of water to flood into the utility room, which contained the piping. The water quickly rose up the walls of the small room creating pressure on the walls. Shortly after the pipe burst the lower portion of a wall gave way, sending a torrent of water, drywall and insulation debris into the Grade 1 classroom. From there it leaked out under doors to contaminate the whole school.
If the flood had happened a day earlier the room would have been packed with six and seven year olds.
"I keep trying to envision what I would have done if that had happened," said Grade 1 teacher Susie Howe (McCance).
Luckily teacher Donna Williams was in the school when the flood happened. She sprang into action using carpets and whatever was at hand to prevent the water from heading into other classrooms, the community side of the building and down into the gym. She called for help and within 45 minutes the water was shut off, and restoration experts and firemen were on site.
"I had to tell myself to calm down," said Williams recalling her panic as she tried to find the phone numbers of school officials.
Once everyone was on the way she called Howe and together they checked out the Grade 1 classroom.
"The high water mark was at 35 inches, so it looked like a big swampy swimming pool in there with (toy) cubes, dominoes and paper all floating around," said Williams.
"It was just unbelievable to see a room that deep in water."
Howe had only left her classroom about 30 minutes before she got the call saying her room was flooded.
"(Williams) said, ‘get up here and put your galoshes on, your report cards are floating down the hall,’" said Howe, now able to laugh at the memory.