ABERDEEN - Christmas break at St. Mary School was extended an extra week after torrential rains flooded the school’s lower level the night of Jan. 4-5.
The record-breaking storm also flooded streets and homes and caused mudslides around Grays Harbor County. “We’ve heard of a few of our (school) families who were impacted by it, who had flooding either in their homes or their basements,” said Principal Joe Budde.
After drying things out at the school this week and making sure the building’s air quality is healthy, classes are expected to resume Jan. 12, he said.
Runoff from the storm left several inches of water in the school library, located on building’s lower level, but “we were fortunate that none of our books were damaged,” Budde said. The books have been moved into off-site storage and the bookshelves must be replaced, so “we won’t have a library program for a while,” he said.
The building, nearly 90 years old, is located on a hillside. Runoff from the rains “literally had rolled down the stairs” and into the structure, Budde said. “Our drainage couldn’t take care of it,” despite improvements that handled previous heavy rainfalls, he added.
Further down the hall from the library, about 2 inches of water flowed into the science lab, damaging the tile floor. “That and the library took the biggest hit,” Budde said. A small amount of water was found in lower-level rooms used for music and extended day programs.
Cleanup crews have been working long days all week, removing water, dehumidifying the space and treating surfaces to kill microbes and any mold that might form, Budde said. He was awaiting the results of air-quality samples taken Wednesday, which will determine when the school can reopen. “You want a healthy atmosphere for your children,” he said.
Insurance through the Archdiocese of Seattle will cover the damage and cleanup, Budde said, and the St. Mary School Commission will make a determination about the need for any make-up days.