Water Cleanup at South Point School

A crack in one of the boilers at South Point Elementary Monday flooded the basement used for special classes and programs. The boiler has been repaired and is running again. CATCO, a cleaning and restoration company, was brought in to assess the damage, tear out wet wall base, and dry and repair damaged areas. The special classes have been relocated to other parts of the building for now. The Washington School District is seeking voter approval in April for a no tax-rate increase bond issue to build a new school in the South Point attendance area. The aging building has many issues, including cracks in the walls due to soil erosion.   Missourian Photo.

As work gets underway in the gym at South Point Elementary to repair cracks in the walls, school officials had another issue to deal with Monday.

Washington School District Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said a section of the boiler in the old building at South Point cracked, causing the basement to accumulate water.

“The maintenance department worked to repair the issue in order to get the heat up and running in the basement and classrooms above it,” she said.

VanLeer said the district’s insurance company was notified and CATCO, a cleaning and restoration company, was brought in to assess the damage, tear out wet wall base, and dry and repair damaged areas.

“The basement rooms are not used as regular classrooms, but we do use the space for special classes such as STEM, ELL, speech language, special education PT/OT therapy and math interventions,” she said. “We also have equipment and supplies relevant to those curriculums to replace.”

Those teachers are now working to determine what all is damaged, she said, and that information will be reported to the insurance company.

South Point Principal Aimee Harty said those special classes have been relocated to other areas of the building for the time being.

“I am very grateful for the swift action of our buildings and grounds team in cleaning up the water and repairing the cracked section of the boiler,” Harty said. “I am also grateful for the flexibility of the South Point teachers and students.”

VanLeer noted the school does not have central air because the HVAC renovation for the entire building was too extensive and costly. Retiring the building has been in the district’s long-range plan for years.

Bond Issue

The district is seeking a $26 million zero tax-rate increase bond issue in the April 2 election to build a new elementary school in the South Point attendance area.

“In an aging building with the issues identified by multiple engineers, new construction is the most sensible solution,” VanLeer said.

Prop S will fund construction of a new elementary school and safety upgrades, including construction of secure vestibule entryways at all schools, visitor management systems and ADA accessibility improvements.

If approved, the new school to replace South Point Elementary would open in August 2021.

The school, located in a 100-year flood plain, is at capacity and utilizes three trailer-style classrooms on its campus. It serves about 433 students and has approximately 70 staff members.

Crack Repairs

Work to repair the cracks in the gym walls will start next week, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendan Mahon.

A preconstruction meeting was held Tuesday.

Engineers and consultants said soil erosion issues have caused the cracks in the interior walls and shifts in the foundation.

The gym is not currently being used because it has been deemed structurally unsafe. There are cracks in other parts of the building, but engineers have said those areas are not of immediate concern.

The school board awarded a $130,000 contract last month to repair the cracks in the gym so it can be used while the new school, if the bond issue passes, is being built. P.E. classes, concerts, assemblies and other events held regularly in the gym have been displaced for now.

The repair work is expected to be completed by March.

Funding for the project will come from the district’s reserve balances dedicated for emergency purposes.

Of the seven elementary schools in the district, South Point is the second largest. Washington West Elementary is the largest.

Prop S will require a four-sevenths majority (57.14 percent) to pass.

More information on the bond issue can be found on the district’s website at www.washington.k12.mo.us.