Warmer temps cause leaks, damage at JFK Middle School

  • John F. Kennedy Middle School, 2019. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2019 3:49:19 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Classes were canceled at JFK Middle School on Monday after three ventilators thawed in the milder weather and began leaking.

School will be back in session Tuesday, according to Superintendent John Provost, who said that 12 classrooms, two bathrooms and several storage closets had been damaged by the significant leaks. Ceiling tiles have been removed, rooms dehumidified and smoke detectors rewired, he said.

“Since many ceiling tiles have been removed and likely will not be replaced tomorrow … students are encouraged to dress warmly,” Provost said.

Provost added that there are still four classrooms where cleanup work will continue Tuesday; some classes will be temporarily moved.

It is still too early to determine the total cost of the damage, Provost said, though he expects it to exceed the $10,000 deductible on the district’s insurance policy.

Provost said it was a very difficult morning for him and educators, who worked quickly to try to save students’ work from the water. He said there is an art show later this week and that student work was damaged.

“The teachers were making truly heroic efforts to try to save as much of the student artwork as possible,” Provost said. 

Provost commended those teachers, as well as a technology teacher who worked quickly to move electronic equipment to dry areas and maintenance staff who evacuated staff from a room that filled with steam from the third ventilator when it had thawed.

The district is currently working with the city procurement officer to prepare the insurance claim, Provost said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.

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