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Star-Telegram.com

School districts deal with ice storm damage

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 08, 2011

By Shirley Jinkins and Jessamy Brown

syjinkins@star-telegram.com; jbrown@star-telegram.com

Several Tarrant County schools sustained flood damage from burst pipes, but students still returned Monday after missing four days of classes last week because of icy, frigid conditions.

And officials are now crossing their fingers, hoping that this week's winter blast won't cause them to miss more days.

Most school districts avoided major problems by having maintenance crews work throughout the weekend, checking for water leaks, clearing sidewalks, and making sure heating and electricity worked properly in the buildings.

Districts including Arlington, Birdville, Carroll and Hurst-Euless Bedford reported little or no damage.

Fort Worth district officials estimated about $5,000 in damage because of burst pipes and broken outside faucets.

"Maintenance crews have been on duty all along to keep heat on in buildings," district spokesman Clint Bond said. "We needed to make sure that problems such as frozen water lines did not occur and if they did, to minimize the damage."

Here's a sampling of what happened in other Tarrant County districts:

Crowley

All of the Crowley district's facilities were inspected Sunday afternoon before students returned Monday. No problems were found at that time.

"But we had heating problems at one campus this morning, J.A. Hargrave Elementary School," public information officer Anthony Kirchner said. "There were some leaks in a water pipe to the boiler that heats the school."

Portable heaters were brought in, and some classes were consolidated with others in warmer parts of the building. Heating was restored around 1 p.m.

Keller

Four schools had damage from broken sprinkler heads.

The gym at Timber Creek High School was flooded, causing what could be the most expensive problem. John Gann, director of maintenance, said refinishing the wood floor would cost about $15,000, but maintenance and operations crew members were drying the floor with fans and heaters in the hope that it would not require extensive repairs.

Minor problems occurred at Central and Keller high schools and Willis Lane Elementary.

Mansfield

Three schools suffered "minor damage," said Jeff Brogden, assistant superintendent of administrative support.

Burst pipes flooded two classrooms and a hallway in Summit High and four classrooms and a hallway at Mansfield High. A small closet was flooded at Davis Elementary.

"It was all pretty minor based on how the temperatures were," Brogden said.

He had no estimate on the cost of the damage or repairs.

Westlake

Phone service has been restored at Westlake Academy after a 5-inch sprinkler system pipe burst at the town-operated charter school over the weekend.

There is significant water damage to the school's second-floor gym and the ceiling of a performance hall and dining room on the first floor, said Thomas Brymer, Westlake town manager and the school's CEO.

School officials won't have an estimate of the cost of the damage until insurance adjusters can make a site visit, Brymer said.

(Staff writers Eva-Marie Ayala, Nathaniel Jones, Amanda Rogers and Sandra Engelland contributed to this report.)

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657; Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7855

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