Water leak damages McAlester school

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Reported by: Janna Clark
Updated: 8/14/2013 5:39 pm Published: 8/14/2013 5:30 pm

On Wednesday, 400 fifth- and sixth-graders in McAlester had their first day of school somewhere else.

The Parker Intermediate Center sustained serious structural damage from a water leak that started Tuesday afternoon.

The hallway has about a half inch of water and dirt, and carpets are soaked with water.

When sixth-grade math teacher Krissy Guthrie heard "creaking and popping," she didn't know what was going on.

"We just know water's coming out of the walls," she said.

A water leak turned her room into a fraction problem and split it in half.

The leak cracked walls, buckled floors and busted windows and left a river of water in the hallways, five classrooms and a teachers' lounge.

"At first it was kind of shock," said Principal Michael James

He didn't believe it when he got the phone call.

"I said, 'I'm sorry can you say that one more time?'" he said.

When he saw the damage, "At first it was heartbreaking, all the time and effort you put getting everything in order," he said.

The district scrambled to find someplace for the kids to go to school.

"It's been a wealth of support from the community; it's been neat," said James.

Eastern Oklahoma State College opened its classrooms to students.

Engineers from Dallas tried to figure out how the water leak happened.

Right now, the district says the engineers are stumped.

"There just doesn't seem to be an easy explanation," said James.

The district won't know more until crews can start digging under the classrooms, and James says the whole situation is just weird.

"Weird, yes would be a good word," said James.

The school can use classrooms at the college the rest of the week and will have to find another building to use next week, and it could be that way the rest of the school year.

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