Flooded math department faced with temporary setback

The recent below freezing temperatures created quite a mess for CHS custodians and the math department.

On Saturday Jan. 9, a water pipe broke in the CHS math wing, flooding the math office and three classrooms. The break was discovered early in the morning on Saturday, and repair work quickly ensued.

“I walked in at 8 o’clock on Saturday morning and maintenance workers were in there trying to figure out what was going on,” math teacher David Kohmetscher said. “Water was pouring from the ceiling, and probably a third of the ceiling tiles in the office were all over the floor just all soggy and mushed. The pipe burst right between the hallway and our office, so it was pouring into the hallway and our office.”

According to Kohmetscher, there was about an inch of water on the floor where the leak was, and the water spread throughout the office. Buckets were brought in, in an effort to reduce the water damage.

The pipe break affected the entire math department, but some teachers were more affected than others.

“We had a couple teachers who were very lucky, and it just skirted around their desks,” Kohmetscher said. “Most of us had water under our desks.”

With the carpet soaked and some equipment damaged, the maintenance workers had a lot on their plates.

Though the broken pipe itself was shut off by Saturday night, the faculty still had to sift through piles of damaged materials. Though the department has had floods before, this is the most long-term damage it has suffered.
Though the broken pipe itself was shut off by Saturday night, the faculty still had to sift through piles of damaged materials. Though the department has had floods before, this is the most long-term damage it has suffered.

“The maintenance guys did a great job cleaning it up that evening,” Kohmetscher said. “They soaked up all the water, had the pipe shut off, and the pipe itself was fixed I think on Saturday evening. They used different machines to suck up the water, and then they shampooed the carpet to try and get the odor out of it.”

The math teachers themselves had a good deal of extra work to do, as well.

“A bunch of us came in Sunday and spent about two hours just inventorying all the books and all the stuff that was damaged,” Kohmetscher said. “They had pretty much taken everything out of the office at that point. Our desks were there, but all the file cabinets were out just stacked in rooms.”

During the leak, the technology box was damaged, which brought down the Internet and phone system in the math wing.

“The biggest problem was the lack of internet service to all math classrooms and the math office until mid day on Friday,” math teacher Jane Glenn said.

While this problem was being fixed, the math department used the conference room in the Student Activities office for Internet access.

“The secretary, Tanya Brooks, worked out of the conference room off of Mrs. Pieper’s office most of the week,” Glenn said. “She did a tremendous job keeping things organized for us.”

Among the other items damaged were a document camera, a few calculators, a computer, a paper shredder, and textbooks.

“We lost a lot of textbooks – probably in the hundreds of textbooks – not all of them are ones we use, some of them are resource textbooks,” Kohmetscher said.

According to Kohmetscher, pipes have broken before in the math office, but the damage was never to the same extent as with this leak and never with as much long-term damage.

Despite the losses, the math wing was back in order fairly soon.

“It was fairly clean by the time we got here Monday,” Kohmetscher said. “And we had all of our stuff back in our office on Wednesday.”

Glenn says that the math department responded well to the situation.

“Everyone from principals to custodians was very helpful and came to check on things often,” Glenn said. “The spirits of the department can’t be dampened with a little water damage.”