DES MOINES, Iowa — Hoover High School and Meredith Middle School students were all back in class Monday after having to leave early Friday morning due to storm damage and flooding in classrooms and other areas of the connected building.
School officials said the hail and amount of water from the storm Thursday night are to blame for the issues.
Hoover High School art teacher Danielle Baugh said at one point on Friday it seemed like it was raining harder inside than it was outside.
“Our principal came in and said get anything from underneath those ceiling tiles. So I was just standing there and just ‘whoosh’ they would just explode and two gallons of water would come gushing down. And then the whole ceiling tile falls and they were just like little rain bombs everywhere coming down,” Baugh said.
Baugh said the art and shop classrooms were hit the hardest and there was a mad dash to try and save everything so that years of student work wouldn’t be ruined.
“Literally there were 24 pieces of artwork that were getting rained on and so I said only one giant piece got ruined and she didn’t really care about that piece. So as long as like her other 23 pieces were saved, I was content with that. We were just trying to save a lot of our electronics,” Baugh said.
Hoover Principal Sherry Poole said crews worked through most of the weekend to put a temporary fix on the roof, replace most of the ceiling tiles and dry out affected areas.
“Once they knew the minor damage was turning into more than minor damage, it really turned into the power of we. District people came, district leaders showed up to assess the damage, operations came in full force. We had 60 people on the roof and in the buildings. We had the community bringing cookies and donuts for the workers,” Poole said.
On Monday, workers were still completing repairs, but they were far enough along in the process to allow teachers to hold classes.
“We still have people up there completing the roof work. Once that’s done, they’ll be continuing the work down here, monitoring the air quality, monitoring drywall, monitoring if we have any leaks that might come through. Tuesday will probably tell the tale because it’s supposed to rain,” Poole said.
Poole said it almost looks like the damage never happened, despite a few missing ceiling tiles, and is hoping these repairs will last until the connected schools can get the entire roof replaced this summer.
“After what we went through and the reaction of the community and the work of our district operations, I’m not worried at all. I’m not worried at all. Because if something like this happens again, we got it,” Poole said.
She said students at Meredith and Hoover will have to make up the lost time by having a full last day of school rather than the originally planned half day.