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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