CLAIRTON (KDKA) – The Clairton City School District canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday after a water main break flooded their school building Saturday.
Crews were outside of the Clairton Education Center Sunday, still pumping water out of the building.
The building houses over 800 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
School Board President Richard Livingston says the elementary school, which is located on the bottom floor, took on all of the flooding.
“The water in the classrooms, when you open the door, would rush out and it would carry anything that was on the floor out into the hallway,” he said
For the most part, the water was an inch to six inches high, but in some areas, the water was several feet high, submerging boilers and an electric panel.
A generator was almost completely submerged, as well.
The middle and high school on the middle and top floors did not sustain damage.
In addition to the damage to the building, the rushing water caused a landslide on the property.
“They’re going to have to stabilize that hillside before we let anybody in the building,” Livingston said.
Livingston highlighted an extensive cleanup process inside before the building reopens, including replacing carpeting and testing the air and the walls.
“The kids won’t be put in the building unless it’s safe,” he said. “Right now, all the floors are covered in mud, so that has to all be cleaned out.”
In a notice Sunday, the district told families to prepare for remote instruction in the immediate future.
The district will also hold a device distribution Tuesday.
Livingston says because of coronavirus measures, only half of the district’s students had actually returned to in-person classes.
There is currently no timetable for the building to reopen.
Pennsylvania American Water, who is responsible for the water main that broke, said they are working to assess the damage.
In a statement to KDKA Sunday, they said:
“Pennsylvania American Water continues to work with the Clairton City School District to address the property damage at Clairton Education Center caused by the September 26 water main break. Our insurance company and our disaster restoration services contractor are working diligently to assess the damage and begin restoration work.
We understand the importance of maintaining continuity of education activities for students during these challenging times, and we are committed to working with the school district to return buildings and classrooms to their previous conditions soon as possible.”