The Lafayette Flood

As some may know, over Christmas break, Lafayette was flooded. The cause of the flood was the bad weather we had. When it got dangerously cold over break with negative temperatures, the sprinkler system in the school started to freeze up. The pipes around the school started to shrink because of the temperature.

When the pipes from the sprinkler system heated up, they began to expand. The expansion caused some of the pipes around the school to burst. This caused two inches of water to flood the cafeteria and surrounding hallways. On Christmas Eve, Dr. Orr and many others had to go to school and help solve the problem.

For the water to stop flooding through the pipes into the school, all water to the school had to be cut off to empty them. To find exactly what places the pipes burst, they had to do an air test. For the air test, they blew air through the empty pipes and discovered the different places where it had burst. Upon finding the broken areas of the pipes around the school, they also found that a pipe had burst directly over the sound and light booth in the theatre.

Luckily it burst after the water was cut off from the school. This saved the school from having thousands of dollars in technical equipment from being ruined. The gym, bus foyer, and many other places in Lafayette were damaged and had to be cleaned up and fixed, but thanks to Dr. Orr and the amazing staff at Lafayette, the school was back to normal before winter break was over. To get a closer look at what happened, The Lafayette Times spoke to Dr. Orr, who had first-hand experience dealing with the flood.

Times: How did you/the staff realize that the school flooded? When was that?

Dr. Orr: “I was sitting in Christmas Eve service at church when the phone rang. I recognized the number was law enforcement for the school district, so I stepped out to answer the phone. They said that they saw video from the school that showed ceiling tiles falling in the gym foyer. They knew that the only thing that would probably make that happen was a lot of water. They told me I needed to meet with the fire department at the school. When I arrived, several staff members were there, as well as some of the janitors.”

Times: Did this cause you to spend Christmas Eve at Lafayette?

Dr. Orr: “Yes, it did, I got to the school at about 7:30, and I was there till close to 10:00.”

Times: How did you go about resolving the situation?

Dr. Orr: “It actually took a long time to resolve the situation because by the time we were working to clean it up, the whole gym foyer, cafeteria, and bus foyer had water about 2 inches deep filling it. It probably took about two and a half hours. We had about five people working to open the doors to the gym and bus foyer, and squeegee the water outside into the 1-degree weather.”

Times: Did the water make it into any of the classrooms?

Dr. Orr: “No, it did not. We were afraid it was going to because the water [flowed] out the gym foyer, down the hallway into the [600 rooms]. Because of this, we moved everything out of that hallway and picked up and unplugged the cords on the ground in the surrounding classrooms. But luckily, none of the rooms got water in them.”

Times: How much damage and money did the flood cause the school?

Dr. Orr: “Most of the cost was to pay a vendor to clean and replace the tile. Also, to finish getting the water that [could not] be removed from the building on Christmas Eve. We also lost [some] volleyball equipment, but it was not nearly as bad as it could have been.”

Times: Does the broken A/C have anything to do with the flood?

Dr. Orr: “Yes and no. One of the reasons is the A/C units that are the size of semi-trucks froze which caused one of the pipes in the unit to burst. Because of this, the air conditioning went down, and that’s why it’s been so hot in the building.”

Despite the flood and damage, Orr and his staff still had the school ready in time for Fayette County’s reopening of schools on January 3rd.