COLUMBIA CITY — While Columbia City High School has flooded several times in the past five years due to rain, the school flooded again Wednesday, but this time for a different reason.
A six-inch water main broke, partially flooding the basement of CCHS Wednesday morning.
Though school was closed due to poor road conditions from Sunday’s snow storm, custodial staff were still at the school, and Whitley County Consolidated Schools Superintendent Pat O’Connor said personnel caught the problem.
“Thanks to our staff, there was minimal damage,” O’Connor said. “They were able to quickly shut the water off.”
O’Connor said there was minimal damage to the school, as the incident was contained in the basement.
A construction crew managed to repair the water main, which O’Connor said broke because it was old.
“The facility manager mentioned it was due to the 1958 construction of the school,” O’Connor said. “This is what we mean when was say the high school is ‘functionally obsolete.’
“The infrastructure is beyond its years.”
O’Connor said all the water was pumped out through sump pumps in the basement of the school and onto the parking lot.
Due to cold temperatures, the water quickly turned to ice on the lot, and O’Connor said if school is back in session Friday, all ice will be cleared from the lot before students arrive.
“The safety of our students is our top priority,” O’Connor said.School was expected to be back in session from Winter Break Monday, but a snow storm dumped 16.2 inches of snow in Whitley County, and classes have been cancelled all week.
O’Connor said officials are monitoring the roadways and if deemed safe, school may be back in session Friday.
Whitley County remained on a “watch” travel advisory Thursday.