Curtis Blackwell, Maintenance Supervisor for the Juneau School District, shows on Monday, April 8, 2018, how high the water came up on one of the two boilers at the Marie Drake building during a flooding event at the school on Friday. Spare parts were found to get the boiler running and the school open. A corroded pipe at the base of a hot water tank was the source of the leak. (MIchael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Curtis Blackwell, Maintenance Supervisor for the Juneau School District, shows on Monday, April 8, 2018, how high the water came up on one of the two boilers at the Marie Drake building during a flooding event at the school on Friday. Spare parts were found to get the boiler running and the school open. A corroded pipe at the base of a hot water tank was the source of the leak. (MIchael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Waist-deep water didn’t waste a school day

Burst pipe caused flooding.

The Marie Drake building was back in service Monday despite flooding Friday that forced students to the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé auxiliary gym and sent others home.

Flooding, which created a waist-deep pool of standing water in the building’s boiler room, was apparently caused by a burst pipe, said Kristin Bartlett, City and Borough of Juneau School District chief of staff.

Bartlett said it took an impressive, coordinated and weekend-long effort to get the building that houses both Montessori Borealis and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School ready for students by Monday.

“It was an amazing turnaround by our maintenance department,” Bartlett said. “They had a lot of people on duty, and they had a lot of support from the City and Borough of Juneau and AEL&P. They spent Saturday drying things out and Sunday making repairs.”

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

Repairs were made over the weekend to things such as boilers and electrical panels that were damaged by the flooding, Bartlett said, but the repairs were meant to make things function again.

She said it’s too early to say exactly how the flooding will financially affect the district.

“At this point, cost assessments for permanent repairs are ongoing,” Bartlett said. “They repaired the equipment to get it working again, but long term, we’ll just have to see if some of it will need to be replaced.”

The flooding caused the district to lose phone and internet services, Bartlett said, but it was not because of water damage to essential equipment. Those services were restored over the weekend.

[Google grant and community collaboration has educators solving problems like computer scientists]

The district’s computer network, as well as phone and internet services, rely on information and technology equipment kept in the same basement where flooding occurred.

When water and power were cut to the building to address the flooding, it meant all Juneau schools lost internet and phone services. When electricity returned Saturday, so did those services.

“That’s why it impacted the whole district,” Bartlett said. “It’s not that those things were damaged, but that power had to be shut down to the building.”

Public works

The Marie Drake building was also a topic of Monday afternoon’s CBJ public works committee meeting.

However, a transfer of $300,000 from City and Borough of Juneau’s deferred building maintenance fund to the school district’s deferred maintenance fund supported by the committee, had nothing to do with recent flooding.

Only one bid came in for a fan replacement and HVAC control upgrades for the building, and it was about 67 percent above the engineer’s estimate for what the work would cost.

[Piano series comes to a close]

The project will be put out for bid again, but CBJ Director of Engineering and Public Works Mike Vigue said the results are a strong indication the project will probably cost more than expected.

The $300,000 transfer will work as a short-term loan and be returned after the fiscal year 2020 appropriations to the district’s fund

“What we’re doing is trying to get this project out, so we don’t lose this construction season,” Vigue said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

This photo shows flooding in the basement of the Marie Drake building on Friday, April 5, 2019. Flooding in a basement boiler room spread diesel fumes throughout the building. (Courtesy Photo | Chris Cairns)

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