Pipe bursts at school

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EUSTIS – Water damage to the Stratton Elementary School addition shouldn’t cost taxpayers much – or keep kids out of school – but it might inconvenience students and teachers for a few weeks, Superintendent Quenten Clark said.

School was canceled in Stratton on Wednesday after a pipe in the building’s sprinkler system came apart, sending water pouring down from the ceiling Tuesday night, he said.

An estimated 8,000 to 9,000 gallons of water drenched the building’s new addition before it was shut off, Clark said

The members of the Fire Department are heroes in this instance, Clark said. “They spent the day putting water into a building and spent the night taking it out of ours,” he said. “They’d been out all day on a structure fire.”

There was water a few inches deep in many of the new classrooms when firefighters got to the school, he said, but by Wednesday morning much of the water had been removed, leaving a mess and soggy ceiling tiles.

“The pipe was up above the ceiling so it was pretty comprehensive in what it got wet,” he said.

The addition has been open for less than a year, Clark said – and good thing, too.

“It’s still under warranty,” he said. “This isn’t going to be a huge public expense or anything.”

“We’re not going to be living with the damage for the next 50 years. They’ll fix it.” Clark spoke Wednesday from inside the school, where contractors were already working.

School was canceled on Wednesday, but will go on – mostly as usual – for the rest of the week, he said.

Kindergarten through grade four will have classes in the usual place at the school, Clark said, while grades five through eight will have classes at the community building for at least the rest of the week.

“By next week, we anticipate all will be at this building,” he said.

Electricians, architects, sprinkler experts and people with expertise in preventing mold will all inspect the school to make sure it’s safe before classes begin again in the addition, Clark said.

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