Floods close Woodland schools until next week

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Schools just recovering from ice storm damage spent Wednesday assessing further damage caused by recent floods.

The Woodland School District appeared to have been hit the hardest, and school is not expected to resume until next week. Two new softball fields, worth $15,000, had completely washed away, and some parts of the school had between 2 and 16 inches of standing water. A piece of jungle gym equipment had overturned and crumpled. A baseball field fence was also destroyed.

A cleanup team sent by the district's insurance company and a crew of district custodians spent most of the day cleaning mud caked to floor tiles and ridding the school of water.

No books or computers were damaged, however, because of preventive measures, according to maintenance supervisor Rodney Baker.

"Our teachers are used to flooding out here," said superintendent Dennis Parham. "We have a two-foot rule. Whenever there's the possibility of flooding, we move everything off the floor two feet. It really saved us."

Costs of the damages were undetermined Wednesday. In May 2002, more than $1 million in damage was caused by flooding.

A Jackson man died Tuesday when his pickup truck was swept into Crooked Creak near the school.

Other districts did not see as much flooding damage because they are not as low-lying as Woodland. Zalma and Leopold districts reported no damage, although Zalma is closed today because of flooding elsewhere in the community.

Nate Crowden, superintendent of Delta schools, said the high school was mostly undamaged. "I haven't been able to get to the elementary school because the roads are flooded," he said.

While opening late, Cape Girardeau schools were in session Wednesday. At a board meeting Monday, the district estimated it had more than $10,000 in damages from February's storms, some of which are still being addressed. But recent roof repairs may have saved the district additional damage.

Jackson was one of the only districts to not dismiss students early Tuesday. Bus routes within the city ran, but routes to the Millersville area were canceled. "We called parents ahead of time to let them know we could not come to those areas," said Carol Woods, director of transportation.

She said those parents picked up their children from school early, and she heard of some of them having to stay overnight in Jackson because flooding prevented them from returning home. She said no students or parents stayed at the school.

Superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson said he had not heard of any major damage to any of the buildings.

Staff writer Peg McNichol contributed to this report.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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