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Wednesday was a moving day for part of the staff at Chamisa Elementary, as teachers and staff helped put their classrooms back together again after flooding damage three weeks ago sent water down through the ceiling and walls of the some parts of the school, damaging several classrooms.
The damage was caused by a “perfect storm” of snow melt followed by freezing cold. The school’s main drainage pipes became blocked with ice, backing up snow melt from the roof, which caused water to enter through the ceiling.
This week, students and teachers started moving everything back into the classrooms located in the school’s “primary pod,” which bore the brunt of the damage.
“Most of the kids have done pretty well. For some it was a little challenging,” second grade teacher Megan Lee said.
Lee shared the library with another second grade teacher until repairs were completed.
“The library was a great place to be, because then the kids could just pick up a book after they were done working,” Lee said.
Chamisa Principal Debbie Smith said the school will be put back together soon.
“We’re hoping that everything will be back together by the end of this four-day weekend,” Smith said. “They have all of the repairs done,” and they redid the drainage to help the flow.”
She said the main drainage pipes were buried deeper in the ground to help insulate them better from the cold. Though it’s a temporary fix, it seems to be working, as no repeat flooding has been reported so far.
As for repairs to the roof itself, LAPS Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt said they are working on a permanent solution through outside funding.
“Every year or so the Public School Facilities Authority issues grants and we will be looking to procure one to repair part of the Chamisa roof,” Schmidt said.
He estimated the repair would cost about $160,000, which is roughly the amount his administration will be applying for.
The repair crew had been working around the clock to repair the classroom’s interiors, which included pulling up mildewed carpet and repairing and repainting the walls.
“The teachers are beginning to move back in, and that’s very exciting,” Schmidt said.