Preston, Okla. — The sounds of about 200 middle school students shuffling through the hallways have been temporarily replaced with hammering, drilling and repairs at Preston Middle School.
The culprit behind the damage is a pipe that burst over winter break.
Superintendent of Preston Public Schools Mark Hudson said that while students were enjoying winter break, staff were discovering a huge mess that would take more than a mop to clean up.
“Our cameras show that it busted sometime that night, that Friday night [Dec. 23]. We didn’t discover it until Monday night [Dec. 26],” Hudson said.
The hard freeze followed by a thaw has led to repair teams dismantling lockers, tearing out dry wall, changing ceiling tiles and rolling up drenched carpet.
“About eight classrooms, all in all, had some damage,” he said. “We’ve been so fortunate to have really good crews to come in and fix things back.”
Water formed a three-inch pond on classroom floors.
Hudson said damage is estimated to be at least $500,000 dollars.
The biggest impact in all of this, he said, is students not in the classroom and parents having to come up with childcare.
“The thing about this school here, we have so many good parents. They’re always so supportive of our school. It is an inconvenience but, yet, they’re so understanding. That’s the biggest impact is on parents,” Hudson said. “We feel for those folks, but they know that we’re doing everything we can to get these kids back in school as soon as possible.”
If repairs are completed by the scheduled date, students will return to class on Monday, Jan. 9.
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