Flooding from main break closes Lakeville school for remaining school year

Students to attend different schools for remainder of the year

Cherry View Elementary School will close for the rest of the school year after a water main break at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 13 flooded the building, in some areas as much as a foot deep, said Lakeville School District Communications Director Linda Swanson.

Classes will resume Thursday in different schools throughout the district; neither parents nor students will be allowed back into Cherry View this school year, and all power to the building has been turned off.

Teachers will gather supplies and students’ belongings Tuesday, and moving crews will transport the items to the schools where classes have been reassigned, Swanson said.

Students who walk or bike are to arrive to Cherry View at their regular time on Thursday, May 16, and they will be shuttled to the school where their class will meet.

Bus stop locations and times will not change, but parents who drive their children to and from school are to bring them to their child’s assigned location. The instructional day will be 9:40 a.m.-3:40 p.m.

Lakeville School officials have reassigned classes to meet at the following locations for the remainder of the school year:

• Kindergarten and grade 1: Lake Marion Elementary;

• Grade 2, A+ and multi-categorical students: Christina Huddleston Elementary;

• Grades 3 and 4: Eastview Elementary;

• Grade 5: Kenwood Trail Middle School, with a separate entrance, hallways and bathrooms.

Kid Zone students will attend at their newly assigned location.

Principals at each of the schools will supervise the students as they board and exit buses.

Classes will continue to be led by the same teachers, and class structures will remain unchanged as well.

Parents should use the same contact numbers to report an absence or to contact school personnel; the numbers will be answered and forwarded to the proper location.

Swanson said a water main pipeline broke inside the school and while two city employees were flushing out the school building’s private fire hydrant located in the parking lot.

“All school buildings have private fire hydrants, so we have one out there,” Swanson said. “The state requires that they have regular maintenance on them, and that’s what they were doing.”

Swanson said city and school district insurance agents are involved and have been at the building.

Chris Petree, Lakeville Public Works director, called the two workers “experienced,” and said they did nothing wrong.

“We’re not really sure what happened or why it happened,” Petree said.

He said there will be an investigation into the cause and extent of the problem that will require excavation of areas around the lines “to see what broke and why it broke.”

“This has nothing to do with my employees operating a hydrant,” Petree said. “There’s more of a catastrophic failure that occurred in the infrastructure not having anything to do with the hydrant.”

Petree said the rupture did not affect neighboring properties’ water lines and no problems with other lines are anticipated.

Swanson added that the head custodian was in the boiler room where the pipe is located when the incident occurred.

“He was able to run over and turn the water off,” Swanson said.

Despite his quick action, water spread rapidly from the eight-inch pipe that provides the building’s fresh water supply.

Activities at Cherry View, including the May 14 concert, will be rescheduled.

District officials reacted quickly to the problem, evacuating the school in the morning, and setting up an emergency meeting in the afternoon with district officials and principals to determine how students would finish the school year.

Cherry View Elementary custodians quickly started clean up, Petree said.

“They were very responsive to get out there and take care of it,” Petree said.