Low temperatures cause basement pipe to rupture; instruments, music materials damaged


Elyse Luecke

The PVC pipe ruptured at a 90 degree angle causing the flood that leaked out into the hallway and surrounding areas. It was unknown that there was an active pipe behind the closet door in room B210.

Elyse Luecke , Managing Editor

With extreme low temperatures, a pipe that is rarely accessed in the basement ruptured right before students came back from winter break.

The pipe is located inside a closet, which was one of the old pipe chase closets from before the school owned the building. Some did not even know there was an active pipe behind the door. Low temperatures caused the PVC pipe, that was touching the concrete wall, to rupture at it’s 90 degree angle. This caused the flood of room B210

Elyse Luecke
A dehumidifier runs in Wes Smith’s choir room, B209.

, which leaked out into the hallways and surrounding areas.

Staff and maintenance reacted to this situation with urgency. The water was shut off for about an hour and the pipe was drained and repaired. The lower end of the pipe will not have water in it again, to prevent further issues.

An extraction team and maintenance extracted the water from the basement floors and carpets using dehumidifiers. Walls and carpets were treated an antimicrobial to prevent potential of mold growth.

“…we take the safety of our students and staff very seriously…This situation could not have been predicted and has happened to many around town. The extreme low temperatures create havoc for everyone,” director of operations, John Klein, said.

When temperatures are dangerously low, Klein and the maintenance team go on a 24 hours watch on all of the Confluence buildings.

“Any variances are looked at and researched for possible causes or adjustments that need to be made. We also monitor the boilers, steam heat, and heating units during this time as the super low temperatures have had, can cause a lot of stress on the heating systems,” Klein said.

Guitar/band teacher David Hagan said the water in his room accumulated to 4 inches. Hagan said that he has most of his instruments secured on racks, however there were about 15 guitars that are broken beyond repair. Multiple boxes of books and sheet music were also ruined.

“Fortunately, the stuff I really need is okay,” Hagan said. 

Most of Hagan’s classes primarily use classical guitars. All of the guitars that were damaged were steel string acoustics and electrics. He now has to catalog everything that was damaged. If an insurance claim is filed, a deductible has to be paid.

“It doesn’t make any sense to pay a deductible if its more than the stuff is worth. Until I get a full dollar amount of what everything is, I don’t know if stuff is going to be replaced or not,”

Surrounding high schools such as Hazelwood and Affton cancelled classes after a similar situation. However this case was more severe, with low temperatures causing a water main break. Please click here to read more.

“We were fortunate that it was not a school day with students and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Klein said.

Tessa Wild
Guitars were moved into Raynard Brown’s choir room after the flood. With the exception of one, classical guitars were not damaged.