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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Sprinkler line floods Eastmont Middle School, does potential $500K in damage

By McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

Published: Wed, July 30 8:30 p.m. MDT

 Jon Lewis of Utah Disaster Kleenup works inside the school's woodshop Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at Eastmont Middle School, cleaning up after a sprinkler pipe broke overnight, filling a large portion of the school with mud and water.

Jon Lewis of Utah Disaster Kleenup works inside the school's woodshop Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at Eastmont Middle School, cleaning up after a sprinkler pipe broke overnight, filling a large portion of the school with mud and water.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SANDY — A sprinkler line break has flooded Eastmont Middle School, doing a possible half-million dollars' worth of damage just three weeks before classes are scheduled to resume.

The break in a sprinkler line that irrigates the school's lawn was discovered early Wednesday morning. Several inches of water flowed into the building's first floor and did extensive damage to the auditorium, where water ran down the large sloped room and pooled at the stage.

"The damage is pretty significant. We had considerable amounts of water all through the lower floor," said Canyons School District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook. "We did have damage in the auditorium to seating and the stage area that we need to get taken care of."

Electricity to the building has been cut and is expected to be kept off for several days due to water that seeped into the boiler room transformers. The system must be recertified for use before power can be restored.

A number of new computers in the school's media center were also caught in the flood. Replacements will be covered under the district's insurance policy.

"It's so unfortunate that that happened," Toomer-Cook said. "We're just so grateful that our insurance will cover it, and we expect to have everything fully replaced by the time school starts."

Sandy Fire Battalion Chief Chris Dawson said crews were called to the school about 5:30 a.m. and assisted with shutting off the water. Crews didn't do a formal damage assessment, but the battalion chief who responded Wednesday initially estimated damage could reach a half-million dollars.

A trench that had been dug for a separate water line channeled the water into the school, Dawson said.

"Because of the trench that was cut for that line, it sounds like that possibly caused the water to be directed into the school," he said. "It was kind of a secondary effect of the construction that was already occurring there. Otherwise it probably would have just rolled down the road and down the storm drains and wouldn't have been as big of a deal."

The state's Division of Risk Management has been called in to ensure the school is safe for students as cleanup proceeds, Toomer-Cook said. A disaster cleanup company was on hand Wednesday helping to pump out the water.

District officials remained confident Wednesday that the school will be cleaned up and ready for students in time for classes to resume Aug. 20.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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1. Patrick Henry
West Jordan, UT,
July 31, 2014

I have a crazy idea.....why not get rid of the sprinkler system (as much as possible) and put native utah plants, rocks, and other things in lieu of those water wasteful lawns? If government is trying to provide spaces for people to enjoy grass let them do that at public parks. If children need some green space, let it be very minimal and suited for their needs. Any parent can attest that there's way too much lawn at every school. Sure they look pretty, but think of the advantages of little or no lawn? If schools were to remove their lawns they would save a lot of money on maintenance and water expenses. Maybe they could afford to pay our teachers a little more? And of course let us not forget that they wouldn't have 500K worth of water damage if they would do what I am suggesting.

We need to wise up. Water is a rare resource and we live in a desert. We need to be smart and wise now so we can protect and preserve water for the ever growing population of tomorrow.