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Repairs underway in area schools damaged by freeze; half of Killeen schools impacted

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:17 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Local schools were back at work Monday, but not all of them are getting into lesson plans as some school districts are dealing with repairs from broken pipes after the winter storm.

In Killeen, school public information officer Taina Maya says 27 or the districts 54 campuses have some kind of damage.

“Its heartbreaking. I think a lot of our teachers look at their classroom as an extension of their home. So posting those photos was impactful but it also showed people why we could not just quickly open our doors,” Maya said.

The worst, she says is at Skipcha Elementary where a drinking water fountain pipe on the second floor burst, impacting more than 30 classrooms.

Belton ISD was also closed Monday, though damages there were not as widespread.

Its newest building, Lake Belton High School bore the brunt of the storm with a sprinkler system pipe bursting in the performing arts wing.

“When the water hit the way it did it just kind of ran like a river through the school, the whole {performing arts} section, every area of this section had water in it,” Assistant Superintendent of Operations at Belton ISD, Michael Morgan said as he walked the halls Monday.

Both districts say their facilities staff were made aware of the leaks early last week. They worked around the clock, through the storm to get the buildings back on track.

“We had no power so not only were they trying to get all the water out of this building they didn’t have power to run the extractors or pumps or fans or anything,” Morgan said.

But the physical damage wasn’t the only thing keeping districts closed. Both Killeen and Belton officials say its cities water status played a role.

In Belton, the city cleared the school to open Tuesday, but in Killeen, a boil water notice remains in effect.

“A lot of our ability to reopen depends on water,” Maya said. “A boil order at all 54 campus buildings is unheard of. We can’t boil water for 30,000 students, plus staff on top of that.”

She says they will stay closed through at least Wednesday, and are working with the city to find out when the boil order will be lifted.

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