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Schools largely intact after storms and flooding

Schools in areas of the state hit by the recent storms and flooding mostly avoided serious damage, the state Capital Construction Assistance Board was told Wednesday.

“Most of their problems don’t appear to be facilities related,” said Ted Hughes, director of the Division of Capital Construction Assistance. “Transportation and some of the other issues are more serious.”

Damaged roads affected school bus routes, and water and utility service to schools were disrupted in some areas.

Hughes surveyed 37 districts, most of them along the Front Range and on the northeastern plains. Most reported roof leaks. Boulder’s Crestview Elementary suffered the most damage, and the district’s school in the mountain community of Jamestown was isolated by road damage and used used as an evacuation center. (See the survey here.)

But even roof leaks can take a serious toll.

The department’s survey mentioned “severe water damage” to 10 Aurora schools and lesser damage to virtually every other school in the district.

District spokeswoman Paula Hans said the district is estimating the damage at about $750,000 and the appropriate paperwork has been filed with state and federal disaster agencies in search of relief funds. (This spreadsheet of Aurora work orders for flood damage provides an interesting look at damage down to the classroom level.)

Hughes said “virtually all” of the affected districts appear to be insured with the Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool.

One unsavory side effect of the flooding not mentioned in the survey is contamination of school playgrounds and playing fields by water laced with sewage, petroleum products and untold other contaminants.

Hughes alluded to that problem, and board member Pete Hall noted, “All that has to be treated before kids get back on it.” Hall knows the problem first hand – he’s director of facilities for the Poudre schools.

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