State College

Park Forest Middle School remains closed, restoration efforts underway

State College Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik speaks about Park Forest Middle School’s flood damage Monday at Park Forest Middle School.
State College Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik speaks about Park Forest Middle School’s flood damage Monday at Park Forest Middle School. psheehan@centredaily.com

Last week’s flood washed out Monday and Tuesday at Park Forest Middle School.

Bob O’Donnell, State College Area School District superintendent, said that the plan is to get students back in class by Wednesday.

Water flooded a little more than half the school late Thursday evening, primarily affecting the sixth- and seventh-grade areas.

The evening custodial crew was already on hand, but couldn’t do much to stem the tide.

“Until the waters subside, there are very limited things that can done,” said Ed Poprik, SCASD director of physical plant.

The invasive rainfall affected hallways and individual classrooms alike. Poprik estimated that the damages were in the hundreds of thousands, which is expected to be covered under the district’s $1 million flood insurance policy.

Cleanup efforts began in earnest on Friday morning.

Contractors and district maintenance worked throughout the weekend, removing segments of wet drywall and sanitizing surfaces throughout the affected area.

“It was a slow process, trying to dry out the amount of water that’s entered the building,” Poprik said.

They have ongoing help from a series of large scale fans, dehumidifiers and air scrubbers.

Once students and faculty return, they should find a much dryer place than they might have encountered over the weekend, but just to play it safe, the district will also run a series of relative humidity, moisture, air and mold tests before classes resume.

O’Donnell said that the district will reassess the situation again on Tuesday and provide an update to parents later that afternoon.

“Our main focus right now is to get these students back into school on Wednesday,” O’Donnell said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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