A number of classrooms at Stevens Elementary suffered extensive water damage Monday after burst pipes in the ceiling caused flooding, according to school officials.
Four adjacent classrooms were flooded, with two rooms particularly damaged, said Stevens Elementary Principal Adrian Espindola. The damage was discovered Monday afternoon by a teacher, he added.
Even as school district employees scrambled to mitigate damage and conduct repairs ahead of the end of winter break Jan. 3, community members have worked hard to replace damaged and destroyed classroom libraries and other supplies that teachers had bought themselves.
“We were picking up books, and they were falling apart in our hands,” Espindola said. “Teachers spend thousands on their classrooms.”
Espindola said he posted about the incident to social media asking for support.
By Wednesday, over $2,000 had been donated from the Spokane community and beyond, with Pavilion Coffee and the East Trent Avenue Blissful Blends location pledging to donate $1 from every coffee purchased Wednesday. Some residents have dropped off cash donations at the school, as well as gift cards to local bookstores, Espindola said.
Donations are also being collected through Principal Assistant Kristin Day’s Venmo account, which can be found at bit.ly/stevenselementary.
“It’s just amazing,” Espindola said. “Our teachers put their hearts and souls into everything they do, so to see our community and people outside the community respond the way they did to support our teachers and kids is pretty profound.”
Espindola called the incident a freak accident and expected that the classrooms would be usable before students return next week.
The Spokane Fire Department said it received some 80 reports of burst pipes by Tuesday morning as rapid warming in the region taxed buildings’ plumbing systems.
District officials could not be reached for comment, and it was not immediately clear whether insurance will eventually reimburse teachers for the damage.
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