La Entrada Middle School floods after water main break


A water main break near La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park on Thursday, Oct. 25, flooded classrooms, including a new building, prompting officials to close the school for two days.

Officials canceled classes Oct. 25 and 26 after a pipe burst at nearby 720 Monte Rosa Drive, district officials said Monday (Oct. 29). The district is assessing the damage, said Joyce Massaro, maintenance, operations and transportation supervisor for Las Lomitas Elementary School District.

School officials arrived on campus around 5:45 a.m. Thursday to find “a river of water running across the blacktop,” Massaro said. District families were notified around 6:30 a.m. Thursday via text and email that classes had been canceled.

Water leaked into nine of the 21 classrooms in the Menlo Park school’s new two-story building, which opened this fall, Massaro said. The water main break impacted 17 classrooms at the school, which has about 800 students enrolled, Massaro said. A $60 million facilities bond measure, which passed in November 2013, helped fund the building. Funds also went to the district's elementary school, Las Lomitas Elementary.

“When we’re done recovering we still want it to be a brand-new building,” she said.

The actual time of the water main break is unknown. Someone called the Menlo Park Municipal Water Department at around 6 a.m. Oct. 25 to report the incident. The department shut off water around 7:15 a.m., and water remained off until around 7 p.m.

An infrastructure failure caused the break, said Luis Olivera, water systems supervisor for the department.

"I can't see it being caused by anything that somebody did through negligence or failure to operate in the area," he said.

Meanwhile, students were back at school Monday morning, Massaro said. Officials moved the school’s three world language classes to other spaces on campus, while they also relocated some fourth- and sixth-grade classes into unused portables, she said. Eleven classes were relocated overall, Massaro said. The portables were set to house students during classroom renovations next school year.

The district is drying out the affected buildings to “ensure classrooms are moisture-free and safe and put back to normal,” Massaro said. It may be another week or so until the district completes damage assessments, she said.


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4 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 30, 2018 at 12:10 pm

It smelled like sewage and many of the children’s things and new tech and teachers things were ruined. Huge disgusting mess.

2 people like this
Posted by Sharon Heights Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 30, 2018 at 11:21 pm

My understanding is that this is the second flood caused in 2 years by a rupture in the water main under Monte Rosa Drive. The damage is almost catastrophic -- school closure, the first floor of an expensive new building rendered unusable, other school buildings also damaged. Additionally, damage to the homes and personal property of neighbors who live on Monte Rosa Drive. Is the city monitoring the condition of it's aging infrastructure? Is it going to replace these pipes before more water waste and damage occurs?

6 people like this
Posted by Should have seen it coming
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 30, 2018 at 11:33 pm

This is so frustrating. A new tax on homeowners was jammed down our throats with little to know publicly disclosed plan and now the new building it paid for has been run through with sewage 3 months into school. Yes, the school was flooded at least one other time recently. How was this not planned for with all of our tax money that funded this building? The school is at the BOTTOM OF A HILL. Water runs downhill. Why didn't the construction companies and architects who financed the bond measure political campaign and reaped the contracts to build it not plan for this possibility and plan a water diversion around the building? Who is responsible for this now? What's the accountability?

Like this comment
Posted by Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Angela Swartz, Almanac Staff Writer is a registered user.

Hi @Parent, feel free to email me at if you would be willing to talk about the damage. Thanks!

Like this comment
Posted by A parent
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 29, 2018 at 12:33 pm

There is just another flood, and kids are being sent home. I'd like to know who's responsible for the damage.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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