Broken pipes lead to chaotic week for science teachers


Madeline Blake tries to eat spaghetti with her prosthetic hand that she made in Anatomy and Physiology. The class did this project in the district office while they couldn’t be in the classroom.

Hope Nurnberg, Co-Editor

A minor explosion has Southeast of Saline students displaced from science classes. No, there were no toxic chemicals released, but instead burst water faucets that have caused flooding in the science rooms. 

“Mrs. Ptacek and Mrs. Breeding have both been meeting in the district office this week. They have had to completely redo their lesson plans because they don’t have their classes or materials. Mrs. Douglas is meeting in the upper gym with the seventh grade science classes,” Principal Dr. Paul Ogle said.

It has not only been a problem for the science teachers but also the students in science classes.

“It is a huge inconvenience to have to walk all the way to the district office for class,” senior Maliyah Commerford said.

Senior Madison Fear disagreed.

“It was kind of fun walking over to the district office and having class in a different place,” she said.

The function of the pipes that broke was to carry hot and cold water to each of the sinks. According to Ogle, the pipes broke because as water moved through them, they were reaching maximum capacity and the piece holding two pipes together popped off. There have been four broken pipes so far. 

“According to Mr. Stumpf, the first was in the prep room (in) late August/early September. It was on a weekend and we are fortunate that someone was in the building and caught it before it ran too long. The weekend before Thanksgiving, there was one in the junior high science room that ruptured and sprayed enough water to ruin the carpet and spread water into all the science rooms plus the hallway. On Dec 3, the third one ruptured,” he said. 

A fourth pipe broke shortly after, Mrs. Heather Douglas said.

Because there have been multiple broken pipes, the construction company is replacing all of the pipes. Southeast of Saline will not have to pay for any of the replacements but there will be costs in other areas.

“We will be out for the electricity for all of the fans. We have well water here so we have to pay for the electricity and whatever cleaning that we do on our part,” Ogle said.

According to Ogle, the warranty (manufacturer) of the faucet will probably be who ends up paying for all damages.

Dale Hilliard, a construction worker who has been helping with the broken pipes at Southeast, said that his job in this situation is to troubleshoot. 

“First we have to see how it happened and basically whose fault it is. (We have to) figure out who’s going to pay for it which costs more time in figuring out than it probably will to fix it,” he said.

Not even Hilliard knows exactly how much the replacements will cost.

“I can’t give you the exact total cost as far as what it’s going to be financially, but I can tell you for our credibility, not very good. We were supposed to be in and out and only put you guys out for a week and so our boss is feeling pretty bad because he is an educator himself,” he said.

Ogle said that it is important that the replacements get done as soon as possible so that the science classes can get back to their regular schedule.

“It’s just a major inconvenience,” he said.