March 16, 2014
To paraphrase Miss Wilkum, our South Campus Principal’s report to parents and students alike, here’s what happened….
WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER
….. EVERYWHERE …..
AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK !
On Thursday morning, 3/6, Teri Murphy our maintenance person entered the Blessed Savior South Campus school building at 4am to discover water running out of the building. She phoned the principal about the incident—water everywhere. Our principal, Miss Wilkum, came to the school immediately after the call and found the water was coming out of all the drains, the bubblers, and the floors. Teri called our plumber and contacted the city to shut the water off. The water continued to pour into the building until it was finally shut off at 7am. It was water coming from the storm sewer. The water was dirty but not sewage. From what we have been told, the underground water main broke and water was pushed down because of the land freeze above and pushed itself into the storm sewer somehow. The storm sewer backed up into the drains of the school building.
By 5am Miss Wilkum contacted the TV stations to inform everyone there would be no school Thursday. The school secretary followed a little later on with a call to the TV stations that school would be cancelled on Friday as well. The goal was to be open by Monday.
The insurance company was called to assess the water damages. We are insured though Catholic Mutual, the archdiocesan insurance agency/company. They contacted the restoration company Belfor, Fire and Water Damage Restoration Service. Within a few hours they were ready to begin. Teachers began arriving to see if they could help. Things sitting in the water were damaged. Those things were thrown out. Things that were washable in the lowest students’ lockers were washed, disinfected and given back to the students. Books, folders, paperwork, and artwork that were damaged in those lockers were destroyed. Computer hard drive towers that sat on the floor in the computer lab were damaged and are awaiting examination. Books in the libraries and anything above the 3-4 inch level on the floor where the water was were unaffected. Carpeting was replaced in some of the classrooms and in the assembly room. Miss Wilkum’s office and the first aid room were re-carpeted. In those rooms where the carpeting was saturated but not badly damaged, they were vacuumed of residual water, washed and disinfected.
Belfor extracted all of the water and set up about 30 fans to dry out the classroom rugs. On Sunday, the staff recognized they were not ready to open by Monday. School was postponed until Tuesday. Belfor’s people mopped hallways, cleaned and washed the rugs, and waxed floors. On Monday teachers came in, teamed up and helped put things in place and ready their classrooms. We witnessed the Blessed Savior miracle team definitely at work.
We want to thank the news channels for being here promptly to bring the news of the crisis to our parents and our students. Although we were not prepared to give them any information because we really didn’t know exactly what had happened and there was so much activity trying to get control of the situation, our focus was on the school and the damage rather than getting a story to the network. Under the circumstance, we did the best that we could. Several TV channels followed through with the recovery efforts and by that time there was information to be shared. We want to thank them for their patience with us. But we also want to thank our teachers, teaching staff, and families and friends of families that came to assist in reassembling the school, as well as families that were supportive of us during Thursday, Friday and Monday. Particularly though, I would like to thank the North, East and West Campuses for helping us by being ready just in case other more necessary steps would have to be taken. We are one school.
For all of us it was a particularly stressful time, and to some degree it’s not quite over yet. Damages are still being assessed. The computer systems still need to be checked. We need to thoroughly inventory the perishables and be able to replace them. Rooms are still being organized even as they are being used.
There is an envelope in the bulletin for you to provide any donation that you can to the South Campus. You can consider this a Lenten offering.
Although Choice covers our students, Choice does not cover situations like this. And although we are covered by insurance, insurance does not cover everything either.
Our Ash Wednesday Lenten theme this year for the school is “Rejoice in the Cross.” Little did we expect that our cross would come in the form of a flood. Some would say, “How can you rejoice in that?” You never rejoice in the crisis, but what the crisis can produce. In this case, it was team work, a single focus, a committed determination, mutual support, exhausted bodies, exhilarated hearts, joyful tired souls working for the effort of our mission to our children and our neighborhood’s children.
In the words of Miss Wilkum, our principal, “Despite the fact of our crisis, we once again have risen up with a miracle in our hands.” After all, she says, “Blessed Savior is a place of miracles.”
Once again, thanks for everything that you do. With gratitude,