FRENCHTOWN – The Frenchtown School District has canceled classes for junior high and high school students for the remainder of the week after a water main broke over the weekend.
Classes for kindergarten through sixth grade, however, will resume Tuesday, Frenchtown Superintendent Randy Cline announced Monday.
All classes are canceled Friday as well, he said, and the district's winter break already was scheduled for Monday, Dec. 21, through Friday, Dec. 31.
Cline said the district was first alerted to the broken water main about 7 a.m. Sunday by a teacher who was in the building and saw water coming from beneath a door. The water was shut off about 8 a.m.
He said staff members were in the school until about 11 p.m. Saturday, and when administrators looked at surveillance video they could see water on the floor in parts of the building starting at 2 a.m. Sunday.
Cline said the water main split open at a connection in a second-floor utility room where the boilers are located, between a common area and the hall outside the high school gymnasium. The main, which has a capacity of 600 to 800 gallons per minute, supplies the boilers.
“It came down like a waterfall right here,” Cline said, standing on the ground floor below the utility room.
Cline said the break left standing water in the hallways, classrooms, offices, common areas and both gymnasiums in the building.
The only areas spared were some of the classrooms in the junior high, the newest section of the high school and classrooms on the second floor of the building.
Dayspring Restoration's Rich Delgaudio said the company has been working in the school since Sunday to clean up the water and assess the damage, bringing in additional crews from Butte and Bozeman.
On Monday, more than 150 air movers were spread throughout the building to help dry the floors. Clear plastic tubing was hung from the ceiling in the hallways to direct dry air inside and wet air outside.
In offices and classrooms, items were stacked on top of desks, and in the hallways Dayspring workers boxed up students' belongings so lockers could be pulled out and the drywall behind them tested for moisture.
Cline said the district needs to calculate the number of school hours it will have this year before determining how the nearly 600 students who attend classes in the building will make up for the missed days.
He said he expects classes to resume in the building after the winter break.
“We have heating issues, cleanup issues, we have to make sure the drinking water is safe,” Cline said. “We have to take the water pumps, which were flooded, apart and put them back together and see if they work.”
Cline said Dayspring workers told him this was one of the largest water-damage jobs they've worked on, and he thanked the community for its support.