Burst pipe at Jackson school damages building, cancels classes

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Students at a school in Jackson are getting two extra days of winter break as their school cleans up from a burst pipe that flooded half a dozen classrooms.

Monday morning, staff returned to Paragon Charter Academy after winter break and found a big surprise.

It was raining indoors.

“There was water pouring in from a pipe up above. So I quickly ran back to my office, knew we had to cancel school for that day,” said Benjamin Kriesch, principal of Paragon Academy.

Kriesch says it appears a water pipe near the exterior of the building froze over break, then thawed, and burst open Sunday night.

“It was amazing how much water was coming in,” Kriesch said.

The water nearly flooded an entire wing of the school, soaking six classrooms.

“Down that hallway we have four kindergarten classrooms, and we have four first grade classrooms,” Kriesch says

Classes have been canceled for the past two days as crews clean up the watery mess.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Kriesch said.

They’re planning on having school back in session Wednesday.

But the principal says students who learn in the impacted area will be learning elsewhere, as crews make repairs to this heavy water damage.

“We’ve relocated six of those seven classrooms into different rooms in the building, so unfortunately art is going to be on a cart for a while, music will be on a cart for a while. Library, technology, and computer science will be on a cart. So we’ve had to utilize those spaces,” Kriesch said.

Kriesch says the ceiling, drywall, and insulation around the burst pipe has to be replaced.

It’s also possible the water ruined classroom computers and tablets.

“We’re still kind of assessing,” Kriesch said.

While the school works with their insurance company, Principal Kriesch says they’re also looking at long-term fixes.

“We’re looking at actually re-plumbing where those water spigots are outside and making sure those are protected,” Kriesch said.

He’s looking forward to school starting back up with a new sense of community.

“We’ve seen just an outpouring of concern, and desire to make sure the school is okay and the staff is okay. That was really encouraging,” Kriesch said.

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