West Glacier Elementary reacts quickly to burst pipes


WEST GLACIER, Mont. - Snow and cold are enough to close a school, but it was more than the weather that closed down West Glacier Elementary.

"Our plower for the snow discovered that there was water running under the door, out across the road so he called us immediately, and we discovered that we had a water main burst in the kitchen," said Cory Pierce, the principal at West Glacier.

Right away West Glacier got a restoration company out and at work.

"The immediate thing that had to be done was finding and stopping all the leaks. So, we set the crews to evacuating water off the gymnasium floor and throughout the building," said Timothy Prince, the project manager for Stat Restoration.

One small pipe in the kitchen caused 2 inches of water to flow out through half of the school. The crew got the water out, but there is still a lot to do.

"The water that has been absorbed in all the building materials still has to be removed, so we set up evaporative drying equipment using a lot of air flow -- rapid air flow -- and then we have dehumidifiers to grab the water out of the air and expel it out of the building," said Prince.

Even though there is quite a bit of work left, Pierce is grateful because he knows it could have been worse.

"Very lucky. If it was the other half of the school, we would have significant damage. This is the better half, we're very thankful for the prognosis that we have," said Pierce.

The principal says he's researching Montana law on how it pertains to emergency school closures and see if these days off will keep the students in school longer at the end of the year.