AP NEWS

Flood was second to hit science wing at GHS

December 19, 2018

GREENWICH — The flood in the basement of the science wing last month was the second major flood to hit that part of Greenwich High School in the past three years.

A cleanup crew had to pump 7 feet of water from the mechanical room underneath the science wing of GHS on Nov. 15, mirroring a similar leak in a utility room underneath science classrooms that occurred in September 2015.

Three years ago, the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol was called at about 2:30 a.m. for “a water condition” in the school’s science wing, according to a post on the patrol’s Facebook page. Crews found 7 feet of water in a stairwell and utility room caused by a ruptured water tank used for the GHS heating system.

The Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol and the Glenville Fire Police worked for about four hours to remove “several thousand gallons of water,” the post said.

The source of the leak, a hot water storage tank, had been repaired and inspected by a contractor a month earlier and again four days before the flood, school officials told Greenwich Time in 2015.

The entire school was closed Sept. 8. Classes resumed the next day, but students did not have access to the science wing since bathrooms and sinks were not functioning. Classes met instead in the gym, in open computer labs, outside in the shade and in the Student Center.

Three years and two months later, the basement of the science wing flooded once again. This time, a gasket failed, compromising the hot water system. Water was discovered in the stairwell leading down to the east side mechanical room.

The gasket was only 2 years old and had not required repairs in the past, Director of School Facilities Daniel Watson said in a statement.

On Monday, the Board of Estimate and Taxation unanimously approved $217,000 to repair the water damage in the science wing at GHS. Parts and equipment have been ordered, and repair work began immediately and is covered by the district’s operating budget, Watson told the BET.

All repair work at the science wing will be completed by the end of January at the latest, Watson said.

The $217,000 approved Monday will restore that money to the school budget. BET Budget Committee Chair Leslie Moriarty said the town anticipates all but $25,000 of the cost to be reimbursed through insurance.

Two other major floods have occurred in Greenwich schools this fall.

Last week, a vibrating isolator, a part that holds two pipes together and muffles the sound of vibrations, broke and caused a flood at the $46 million Performing Arts Center at GHS, which opened just three years ago.

The water covered the galleria floor, seeped into the gym and ran down toward the dressing rooms.

All performances at the PAC will be relocated or rescheduled for the next six to eight weeks as a result. And all Cardinals home basketball games will be relocated or rescheduled for “the next several weeks” because access to the gym will be limited to classes and some practices.

At Cos Cob School, a faucet caused a geyser of water to flood the building, damaging 10 classrooms, the art room, the media center and the library on the first and second floors. Those two floors of the school are slated to reopen to children on Jan. 2. In the meantime, kindergartners have been relocated to Parkway and first- and second-graders are at Old Greenwich School while repair work is completed.

The town scrambled to appropriate nearly $2 million to cover the costs of cleaning up Cos Cob, relocating the students and rebuilding damaged areas.

jo.kroeker@hearstmediact.com

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