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Water heater leak damages Montessori school

Water heater leak damages Montessori school

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Tomah's Montessori School is packing up and heading for Robert Kupper Learning Center.

Staff arrived Wednesday morning at the Montessori building on County Highway CA to discover water damage caused by a water heater leak. Teachers and staff spent Wednesday packing for the move to Kupper, where classes will resume Monday. Wednesday classes throughout the district had been cancelled due to snow.

"Fortunately there was very little damage to the teaching materials and supplies," Tomah Area School District superintendent Cindy Zahrte said. "The children’s work is in cubbies, and teacher supplies and materials were on book cases and in cabinets."

Zahrte said standing water in the building had mostly receded by noon.

"Flooring will be our biggest issue − pulling up the carpet and checking the wood floors and baseboards to ensure no mold is growing and the integrity of the floor is still in place," she said.

Zahrte said a new water heater had been installed Monday.

Two rooms at Kupper became available last September after the district moved one of its alternative education programs to Tomah Middle School. The Tomah School Board recently discussed renting the space to Tomah Memorial Hospital.

"That's obviously on hold," Zahrte said.

She praised a "great team effort by custodial staff and teachers" to prepare for the move to Kupper. She doesn't believe the move will be educationally disruptive.

"It's more about the teachers than the building itself," Zahrte said. "It would be a harder adjustment if we had to change the teacher."

The Montessori school was launched as the district's first charter school when it opened to 40 students kindergarten through third grade last September. The building had previously housed the district's alternative education and four-year-old kindergarten programs.

"It's more about the teachers than the building itself. It would be a harder adjustment if we had to change the teacher. - Superintendent Cindy Zahrte

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