Cassville tackles intermediate building flood repairs

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Dusty Reid: 'It is our hope that insurance and FEMA will both be a part of the solution'

Repairs of the fifth-grade classrooms on the lower level of Cassville's intermediate school, which were damaged last December when three inches of flood waters flowed through the building, are set to begin.

After the flooding, which occurred over the holiday break when classes were not in session, the district immediately began pumping water out and running fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area out.

After 11 inches of rain accumulated in the area over a three-day period, flood waters made its way into the building, damaging about 50 percent of the basement area including the flooring in six classrooms, three supplemental classrooms, the hallway, furniture, bookcases, and miscellaneous equipment, a nurse's office, two bathrooms and storage closets.

In January, after addressing the challenge of relocating the classrooms, which were temporarily moved to the middle school to avoid an interruption to classes, and refiguring internet access for students, the district began working on a plan of action to make repairs and find a source of funding.

The building, which was built in 2008, has flooded more than more than once, according to Dusty Reid, director of facilities and operations for the district, and the district aims to find out what the problem is, and fix it, so it does not happen again.

"We wanted to wait until school was out to begin repairs, and it takes awhile to put together a game plan," Reid said, who was meeting with FEMA later that day to discuss the repairs and funding. "Our goal is to take our time and do [the job] it right so that we never have flooding in the basement again. I wasn't here when the building was built to know what took place or why it has issues, but our job is to figure out what needs to be done so that we never have water in there again."

The best-case scenario is that the cost of repairs, which came in at $139,573, will be covered by FEMA disaster-relief funds and/or insurance, but waiting on FEMA funds takes time.

The school is not considered to be in the flood plain, but because insurance initially viewed the flood as caused by hydraulic pressure, it was determined to be a non-covered expense.

Reid said the school was meeting with FEMA this week to discuss the repairs and funding.

"It is our hope that insurance and FEMA will both be a part of the solution, but those discussions are ongoing," he said.

The district hired Nabholz Construction, an Arkansas-based company, to complete the repairs. A close second was R.E. Smith Construction, a Joplin-based company, which came in at $141,657.

"We went through a bidding process with a number of construction companies, and not only was Nabholz the lowest bidder, but they are a very well-respected firm, and we are very confident they will do a good job for us," Reid said.

Repairs will be completed in three phases over the summer and part of the fall semester.

Phase one involves removing the concrete slab.

Phase two will involve fixing the water infiltration issue, which includes addressing the drains and pumps.

"In between those phases, engineers will be brought into the process to determine the cause of the problem, including where the water is coming from, and the next steps needed to resolve it," Reid said. "We can't determine what those repairs are until we get the floors out."

Hiring an engineer will be an additional cost on top of Nabholz's fee, which has not yet been determined. But in the long run, it will save the district money by preventing future floodings. The district is working with Anderson Engineering and Kevin Sprenkle, base in Monett.

During phase three, the flooring will be put back in, the walls will be painted, and everything put back together.

After the flooding occurred, Reid said the district's relocation plan for students was handled well.

"We are very fortunate to be able to have those additional classrooms in the middle school," he said. "It's working out very well."

Reid anticipates that the classrooms will be operational again sometime after the fall semester.

"We're going to shoot for January," he said. "We would never move in the middle of semester, so we'll wait for Christmas break or during a break of some sort. A lot of this is dependent on what the engineers find, and how extension the remediation steps are."

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