The Spartan

Flood Shuts Down School and Gym

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Flood Shuts Down School and Gym

Mud covered the floors of the maintenance area when the water main ruptured.

Mud covered the floors of the maintenance area when the water main ruptured.

Mud covered the floors of the maintenance area when the water main ruptured.

Mud covered the floors of the maintenance area when the water main ruptured.

Jianna West and Rebekah Biggs

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Photo by Jenny George

Doherty’s marquee announces the school closure, sending people to the website for more info.

On October 22nd, 2018, Doherty faced another large hurdle regarding building maintenance. School was cancelled for the week and Parent/Teacher conferences were postponed so work crews could deal with the damages from a break in the water main that caused major school flooding.

According to news reports, training by the fire department and pressure from a nearby fire hydrant exceeded maximum pressure capacity, causing flooding in the loading dock and then the rest of the east corridor. Muddy water surged through the maintenance area and the choir rooms, damaging the carpet and floors. The damages lead to pipe and carpet replacement, as well as hours of cleanup and mold prevention.

Assistant Principal Lana Flenniken reported that our building manager, Ted Aguilar, has really helped make sure the effects of the disaster were minimized. She said, “Ted Aguilar, and the entire performing arts team deserve the most accolades as they are the ones that have been patient through this whole process and have really stepped up and done some pretty cool things in their classrooms.”

Crews had the building ready for school by the 29th of October, but another problem was brought to the attention of our administrators during cleanup.The large gym floor sustained damage during the flood, causing it to start buckling. Mercury vapors from the aging tartan floor under the large gym floor had been trapped underneath the wood, and there was a plan already in place to replace the floor at a later date, but with the buckling floor, administrators decided this issue had to be dealt with immediately. So the floor had to be torn out and the process of mercury abatement, or elimination, had to be fast forwarded to this school year, a short amount of time for a hefty project.

According the Athletic Director Stephanie Leasure, the project has been a team effort. “Our PE and athletics departments have been extremely flexible and understanding of the fact that we can’t really do anything to change the situation, so we have to figure out how it will make it work! They have banded together to grow and think in different ways—we are offering independent study for PE for the first time, and offering PE at new and different locations!” 

Even people outside of Doherty have helped.  “Dan Hoff, the Executive Director at the RJWAC has been incredibly helpful,” Leasure says, “as have been the facilities staff both at our building, the district, and RJWAC. We couldn’t have done this without everyone’s extra assistance.”

The Mercury Abatement Project entails replacing the floors found in the main gym, the racquetball courts, the weight room, and the wrestling room. The new bleachers, which will seat the entire student body and more for assemblies and sell-out games, will now be designed to fit the updated American Disabilities Act standards. This means handicap accessible seating and railings.

Winter sports teams are practicing and competing at the Roy J Wasson Academic Campus while the gym is closed down. Gym classes had to scramble to accommodate students by offering options at Skate City, King Pin Bowling, and City Rock. Even the weight room had to be moved. Assemblies have been cancelled until further notice. To help make up time, study sessions were added to the finals schedule in December.  Though nothing has been decided yet, Mr. Aguilar said that plans are being discussed to figure out where a senior assembly could be held, and he will let The Spartan know as soon as something is decided.

“The flood impacted everyone in this building,” said Flenniken.  “It’s important to understand that we all were affected and we all need to be flexible, adaptable and remain positive.  

About the Writer
Jianna West, Writer

I am a senior at Doherty and studied extensively the past four years in STEM focused programs. I hope to continue my studies at University of Chicago for...

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