Burst pipe closes part of Vale Middle School

Repairs are underway at Vale Middle School after a burst pipe flooded Vale Middle School’s west wing on Jan. 16, prompting administrators to move seven classrooms to other parts of the campus, including the school’s wrestling room.

Four classes returned to their rooms on Monday, Jan 29.

According to Alisha McBride, superintendent of the Vale School District, extreme temperatures during a winter storm and a loss of heat caused pipes to burst, flooding seven classrooms, including the school special education room.

McBride said most middle school classrooms are in the west wing. Administrators subsequently relocated classes for nearly 150 seventh and eighth graders to other parts of the school. McBride said the school’s wrestling room became a math classroom after educators divided the room up to share the space. One part of the school library became a social studies class, while another was used for English.

She said career and technical education moved out into a hallway while a boardroom became a classroom.

McBride said most of the classroom damage was from water on the floors. She said one pipe busted in the special education classroom, with leaking water damaging the ceiling, walls and floors.

The Vale School Board met in an emergency virtual session Wednesday, Jan. 24, and approved an emergency contract with a contractor to fix the damage and get the kids back into their classrooms without going through the competitive bidding process as the law typically requires.

 McBride said the district hired Horizon Restoration Services, a Parma company specializing in emergency water damage cleanup.

The board also approved replacing damaged supplies and equipment.

McBride said repair cost and extent of the damage hasn’t been established.

McBride said she was pleased with how the school staff sprang into action and worked together to ensure kids had a place to learn.

“Our staff has been amazing,” she said. “As soon as they learned that the classrooms would not be useable, Vale Middle School Principal Lisa Andersen and Maintenance Director Quinn Mulvany began working collaboratively with staff to create alternative learning spaces to ensure that teaching and learning could continue.”

Workers had to pull out cabinets to get to damaged walls at Vale Middle School after a burst pipe flooded the school’s west wing, Jan. 16. prompting administrators to move seven classrooms. (Vale School District)
Workers mop up water in the hallways of the west wing at Vale Middle School Jan. 16 after a burst pipe flooded the school. Administrators moved seven classrooms to other parts of the campus. (Vale School District)

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