Cassville Intermediate reopening flooded classrooms
October 11, 2017
It’s been a long time coming, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, flooding repairs and mitigation to the Cassville Intermediate School building will be complete by the beginning of November and all displaced classrooms should be back in the old, but improved classrooms.
According to Cassville R-IV director of facilities and operations Dusty Reid, “We waxed the interior floors last week and assembled furniture and have started moving furniture into the classrooms today. Our goal is to get the teachers an opportunity next week to decorate their rooms.
“I’m not sure exactly when we will have the kids in. Toward the end of October, we expect students and teachers to be in their classrooms.”
The damage at the intermediate originated from intense flooding in December 2015. However, according to Cassville R-IV Superintendent Richard Asbill, that was the third flooding or water damage incident to the building since it was built in 2008. He said, “It had only been used for two months before it flooded the first time. That was in March of 2008, then there were two more incidents that were inconvenient with some significant water introduced through the concrete slab and wall areas since then. But the most damaging was December 2015.”
It was after that flood that the school opted to do an overhaul of the downstairs classrooms in the intermediate. Fifth grade classrooms, Title I rooms, special education rooms and the nurse’s office were all temporarily moved to a portion of the current middle school.
Once demolition began, another flood struck in July 2016. The most recent flood, which also brought water into the building was April 2017. However, the water in that incident was minimal. Reid said, “In April, we had a lot of rain and the basement filled up, but it never got up over the original slab. We had dug a lot of trenches and pipes around the original slab and we pumped it out quicker than it could come in.”
The Cassville R-IV School Board approved $1.56 million in repairs, however, a few weeks later, they amended that budget to allow for some project changes. Initially, the district expected damage estimates to be over $2 million. When the bids came in much lower, the district was pleasantly surprised.
Dr. Asbill said, “Once we had an initial expectation of what this would cost, the original bid came in lower. That gave us the opportunity to add the two additional wet wells.”
The school was already having a pier well drilled to prevent water from gaining access to the basement level of the school in the event of another heavy rain.
Asbill continued, “When we went into the repair portion of the project, the challenge was how to estimate exactly how much it would cost to repair and mitigate an existing building. When we came up with our budget estimates and what we were working toward, the original base bid of the project was lower than we anticipated. Which that is a good thing. Based on that, we evaluated two additional pier wells that would be considered strictly improvements to the project.”
The base bid of the project, $1.56 million, changed to $1.991 million with the additional two pier wells.
The first phase of the mitigation project was to build an internal drain system in each of the flooded classrooms. Perforated 12-inch pipes were installed around the perimeter of the classrooms before the slabs were re-poured. Those pipes are fed to a central drain in the middle of the floor.
The second phase was directional boring. Three 15-inch pipes run under the building and take the water away down to drain at Flat Creek. The classroom French drain systems will be connected to the directional boring lines. Each room has a removable panel to access the pipes draining any water that might breach.
Finally, the school had a six-foot diameter concrete perforated pipe that goes 40 feet into the ground outside of the Intermediate building with three pumps inside. The pump is designed to kick in when any groundwater seeps into the pipe. Since the well pipe is below the Intermediate classrooms, it will pump water out to the directional boring lines before it reaches the school. If a large influx of water reaches the well, there is an additional drain line to control overflow.
Overall, the project is running about $2.9 million. However, the school’s insurance is paying approximately $1.5 million. Then there is a possibility that the school’s portion will be less once a final ruling is determined on the FEMA grant.
The initial FEMA grant was done incorrectly by FEMA representatives, so the school is appealing the denial to help cover flood damage. Dr. Asbill said they are requesting between $650,000 and $700,000 from FEMA, and the initial request did not accurately represent the scope of the disaster.