Cassville schools deal with water damage

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Richard Asbill, superintendent of the Cassville R-4 School District, explains how sheet rock had to be removed from the Rock Gym interior after a broken water line flooded portions of the building. Kyle Troutman/

Rock Gym damaged by busted copper piping

Cassville Schools maintenance crews are working to repair the Rock Gym, which was damaged last week after a copper water line broke, flooding portions of the building.

Richard Asbill, superintendent of the Cassville R-4 School District, said a total cost of damages has yet to be determined, as the water affected everything from paperwork and carpets to ceilings and the gym floor.

"There was a lot of standing water and running water, and the insulation and ceiling tiles collapsed in different areas of the gym and the offices," he said. "It has displaced us completely from the gym area, but we were fortunate to be out of school because of the weather."

Asbill said the line break occurred sometime during the night of Jan. 7, when Cassville saw sub-zero temperatures. Administrators did not learn of the leak until about 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 8.

"The old water line in the gym bathroom froze and broke in two spots," he said. "It happened in our old gym bathroom, which we haven't used for about 25 years."

Covered by Arthur J. Gallagher insurance, headquartered in Itasca, Ill., through the Missouri United School Insurance Consortium (MUSIC), Asbill said the school's maintenance crews have been working with Service Master of Springfield to dry the floors, walls and ceiling, as well as remove damaged floor tile, insulation and sheet rock.

"We have gotten rid of all the water and now we have fans and dehumidifiers running," he said. "We're still trying to establish which documents have been destroyed and which ones we can salvage."

Asbill said the district hopes to have everything repaired in two to three months, and the biggest area of concern is damage to the gym floor.

"The big thing is how much damage has been done to the Rock Gym floor," Asbill said. "We're seeing some warping as the floor dries, and that's concernable because we can't fix that. But, the insurance company is aware of what's going on."

Asbill said the district is handling all repairs with its maintenance employees and through the insurance company, meaning no city time or money has been spent on the Rock Gym.

The school district was not the only water customer that experienced trouble last week. Steve Walensky, public works director for the city of Cassville, said between Jan. 7 and Jan. 13, the city completed 39 work orders, most of which dealt with pipes that busted in the cold.

"We have recovered for the most part," he said. "Most of our work orders consisted of checking meters or temporarily shutting off service."

In his third year as public works director, Walensky said he had never seen such issues in the past, but this was the first time temperatures dipped below zero.

"It got so cold this year, and when it stays that cold for that long, it hurts a lot of people," he said. "I personally had three pipes break at my business. Everyone is sensitive to the fact they take a lot of precautions, like dripping water or turning up the heat, but mother nature still had the upper hand."

Walensky said the city uses a myriad of types of pipe, and in weather that cold, any pipe is under threat.

"My pipes that broke were PVC, a 2-inch galvanized line and a lead fitting, so there's no rhyme or reason," he said. "When it's cold and there's pipes involved, they are all susceptible to breaking."

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