For Monongalia County Schools, it’s the (unwanted) gift that keeps on giving.
The unprecedented “bomb cyclone” over the holidays, that is.
More than half of the buildings in the district sustained damage to some degree in the quick-moving arctic blast that caused temperatures to plummet 30 degrees in 30 minutes, during the days just before Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
An icy shroud, with a vortex of dangerous windchills within, parked over the region and stayed there.
“Every bit of our damage is attributed to the cold weather,” Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said then.
Across Mon’s district, pipes froze and networks of sprinkler systems separated, causing water to gush down hallways and into classrooms, ruining carpets and drywall.
Whole HVAC systems and cafeteria freezers were also infrastructure casualties of the weather.
For now, Campbell said, it’s a matter of working through the paperwork.
No dollar amounts have been issued just yet to pay for the clean-up, but thank Santa for insurance coverage, he said.
Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico seconded that, as she briefed Board of Education members last week on the status of the clean-up.
The bomb cyclone, in effect, is buying a gym floor at Ridgedale Elementary, she said.
Water damage, Talerico said, which is covered by insurance.
The floor right now is safe for basketball and physical education classes, she said, but the boards were soaked clean through.
It’s either replace it now, or — like it or not — replace it later, Talerico said.
“All wood floors will deteriorate after they’ve been soaked in water,” the deputy superintendent said.
The district in the meantime is planning on purchasing a monitoring network for sprinkler systems. The network will alert administrators when a sprinkler fails, causing water to pour down.
Both Talerico and BOE President Ron Lytle thanked the principals, teachers and other staffers who responded during their holiday to tend to school buildings under the weather siege.
The sprinkler monitoring, she said, will go a long way in the winter.
After that, she said, she’s offering weather wishes to Mr. Claus.
“I’m gonna hope that we never, ever have another bomb cyclone during the holidays again.”