By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — North Elementary School got an unwelcome surprise last week after heavy rains forced a roof membrane to tear, causing damage to classrooms and disrupting students’ schedules.
Principal Mary Coltin got an early morning call March 31 after custodial staff at the school found water dripping and damage to the school’s main hallways and several first-grade classrooms.
School district facilities director Chuck Zappala told School Board members the water problem was caused by a large tear in the roof’s membrane, most likely due to the hours of heavy rain the night before and overstressed roof drains.
“The roof drains were overwhelmed for a while and couldn’t handle the volume,” Zappala said.
Coltin said she jumped into emergency mode quickly that day, coming up with a strategic plan to handle classroom schedules and where students would be relocated.
Two classes were moved to the library, two others used the music room and another went to the computer area.
Some scheduled activities were also changed to accommodate displaced students and teachers.
Some classroom materials were damaged by water, Coltin said. Two classrooms suffered significant damage, Coltin said.
Toward week’s end, the school was getting back to normal.
Coltin said there was a lot of staff, student and parent support while the school dried out and damage was evaluated.
“When you put everything in perspective, it was a blip on the screen,” Coltin said.
A temporary patch job was done on the roof. Custodian crews also did extensive carpet cleaning in the classrooms and used special soaps to alleviate any mildew concerns.
Crews will do more extensive, permanent repairs during April school vacation week.