September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Cost of flood damage at North Ridgeville schools rises

North Ridgeville High School maintenance crews worked day and night to clean up after flood waters filled the Northeast corner of the building, including the boiler room. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

North Ridgeville High School maintenance crews worked day and night to clean up after flood waters filled the Northeast corner of the building, including the boiler room. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Even as school officials continue to assess damage from last week’s flooding, they already are looking ahead to preventing it in the city’s new $58 million middle school.

“We’re meeting with the architects today and we’ll be talking about a number of things, including improved drainage, to make sure this does not happen again in the new building,” said Bill Greene, assistant superintendent of building services for North Ridgeville Schools.

“Knowing there’s a brighter future for us helps make this flooding more tolerable,” Greene said.

District officials had been working prior to Thursday’s meeting with representatives of Then Design Architects, the Willoughby company chosen to design the new school for third through eighth grades, to discuss installation of sewer lines and drainage at the new school to prevent the kind of flooding that caused damage at the current middle school and high school last week.

“It’s one of the most expensive I can remember,” Greene said Thursday of the amount of materials and equipment damaged or lost in the May 12 and 13 storms that left the two schools with from 18 inches to several feet of water damage.

The original estimate of $10,000 in damaged textbooks, supplies and labor cleanup costs has more than doubled, according to Greene.

Part of the increased costs will be going to cleaning and refurbishing band instruments at the middle school, which was built in 1923 and sustained considerable water damage to lower level classrooms and the cafeteria.

“It looks like it could be over $10,000 to effectively repair instruments,” Greene said. “It’s going to be quite expensive.”

Teachers in the high school’s woodworking department knew they had sustained damage within hours of the storm. But closer inspection led to a longer list of damage to a number of hand drills and other hand power tools, as well as damage to stationary equipment like band and table saws.

“Technicians (from firms supplying the saws) are coming out to verify they’re OK,” Greene said. “They run, but they don’t sound right.

“They need to be dried out and may need to be re-packed,” he said. “We’re not calling them a total loss. They will be salvageable with some work.”

School staff were still compiling lists of damaged materials, but losses of laptop computers, textbooks and power tools was said to amount to several thousand dollars.

Custodial and cleaning staffs put in as much as 36 hours to sanitize and disinfect floors, furniture and walls in the middle and high schools.

Crews worked into the early morning hours May 14 to get the middle school open later that day.

Middle school head custodian, Steve Esber, and Roger Fleming, Esber’s counterpart at the high school, agreed the rainfall, which measured up to 6 inches in some parts in town, produced the worst flooding they had experienced in some time.

Frozen water pipes at the middle school during last winter’s extreme cold produced extensive flooding that left another $20,000 cleanup bill, Greene said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.


  • Phil Blank

    Looks like there was the possibility of the water reaching a few pilot lights. Those look like boilers to me and what looks like a white cylinder at the back.

    If the pilot lights go out, you have an explosive situation.

  • Yet Another NR Resident

    Given that we’ve decided our last school age child will no longer attend NR schools…and how this city is run. – I find hard to give a damn