Just five days into the new school year, 300 students at Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff have been sent back home.
Killip Elementary, located off 6th Ave. and First Street is about six blocks downstream and southeast of the Grandview neighborhood. Grandview Drive is still lined with stacks of sand bag walls that have been protecting homes and property.
Tuesday’s flash flooding caused 60 percent of the school to be flooded with water and mud. District officials were forced to cancel school Wednesday thru Friday, Aug. 20.
The rainfall began around 1:30pm Tuesday. Students were forced to “shelter in place” in the gym for at least two hours due to the weather destruction on the school.
“We were all trying to stay calm. We were singing to the students, we put on a movie. We were trying to just help those students not to be scared,” explained Teacher Tina Hurst. “We did have a lot of little ones, kindergartners preschoolers who were crying not sure what was happening. It’s their first time going to school.”
The heavy rain that fell on Tuesday erupted the Museum Fire’s burn scar, causing the heavy, mucky flooding that literally started seeping through doors throughout the school property.
The mud line ended a few inches above the baseboards, and the carpet in the hallway and classrooms are soaked. Contractors are already diligently at work on the property with floor fans trying to dry everything out. Longer term impacts such as mold is a deep concern at the moment.
Flagstaff School District officials spent Tuesday morning assessing the damage.
Principal Gutierrez acknowledged the teachers and staff for coming together, staying calm, and following their flood emergency plan and keeping the students calm and safe.
A new Killip Elementary is in the process of being built next to the current school. The current building is old and was scheduled to close next year.