Muskogee Public Schools Dealing With Damage Caused By Winter Weather

Tuesday, February 23rd 2021, 4:41 pm

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -

Muskogee Public Schools are still dealing with flooding and power issues from last week's winter storms. The 6th grade academy and high school were affected, sending students into virtual learning for the time being.

"I call it the trifecta; I started out with the flood last year, then we had the pandemic, and now the ice storm. So, all those things really have affected us tremendously," Muskogee superintendent Jarod Mendenhall told News On 6. 

He says on Tuesday of last week, school leaders found some parts of Muskogee High School flooded due to pipes bursting from the cold and spewed water across campus. Electrical units were also frozen, and power was shut off.

Superintendent Mendenhall says the district had to turn power off due to rolling power outages. The cold then burst some pipes located above their circuit breakers, which shut off power, heat, and water completely. Chief Operations Officer Eric Wells showed me the damage.

"So, what we did --- we had to call in repair crews and have all of the circuit breakers replaced. Those breaks power all the systems, including our standalone buildings," Eric Wells, Chief Operations & Technology Officer, explained. "So, whenever the system was frozen and shut down; it took down all services from water electric heat. It really it hit the district right at the heart."

Mendenhall says the damage is extensive.

"We had to clean up the water first and then started warming up the building through these plastic pipes and things. We're looking at right now I think our bill is close to $300,000, and we're still evaluating at this point in time," Mendenhall added. 

Mendenhall says they now have power, and are well on their way to getting things back up and running

"We still are looking out what is our next steps --- if we can get the water turned back on and ready to go for that as well."

Mendenhall says he hopes to have students back at the high school and 6th grade campuses for in=person learning by the end of this week. However, he says it all depends on how fast they repair the damage.