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Millcreek Journal

Flooding and a fire plague Skyline High at the start of the academic year

Oct 01, 2022 07:48PM ● By Lizzie Walie

By Lizzie Walje | [email protected]

After months of record-breaking heat and drought warnings, the prospect of a heavy September rainfall should have served as a moment of relief for Millcreek residents. Unfortunately, for Skyline High School, the rainstorm proved catastrophic when multiple classrooms and hallways were impacted by flooding. The source of the leak? The school’s roof. Which according to school officials has long needed repairs.

Ben Horsley, a spokesman for Granite School District, said the flooding affected a handful of classrooms, including hallways, that ultimately prompted an early release for students.

On the afternoon of Sept. 14, Granite School District took to its numerous social media pages to alert students and families to the ongoing flooding issue that had turned serious, prompting the early release of students.

“Due to intense rainfall, we had to release several of our classrooms around 2 p.m. today to ensure student safety as it relates to what has become a regular occurrence with our leaking and aging roof,” the alert made by Skyline’s principal Mitch Nerdin read. He also took to social media to update students and families as the situation unfolded into the afternoon and evening.

“We have also had some flooding in our auditorium area which has caused play practice and an additional activity to be canceled for the day. Crews are already working to resolve both of these issues. All other activities and extracurriculars can proceed as scheduled. We regret any inconvenience and anticipate these issues will be resolved in time for the start of school tomorrow.”

Despite Nerdin’s expressed optimism for quick repair initiatives, footage, and pictures uploaded to social media showed the severity of the flooding. Perhaps the most harrowing images came from the auditorium, where a cascading waterfall ran from stage to floor.

Fortunately, there were no injuries to report, and for the most part, school and extracurriculars were hardly impacted. Following the early release of students on Sept. 14, repair crews descended on Skyline to halt the hemorrhaging water and enact emergency repairs.

Skyline was originally built in 1962, although in May of 2019, Granite School District announced a site layout for a complete school rebuild. The district said the site would break ground in November 2019, aiming to be fully functional and ready to house students by the end of December 2025. Due to the unforeseen challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will likely be further delays, and even without these delays, 2025 is still a handful of years away. Fortunately, major builds are consistently underway, with the revealing of the new gymnasium and pool occurring on Sept. 20.

Despite the new build’s progression, cracks in the current school’s infrastructure are hard to ignore. In fact, not even two weeks post flooding, a fire reportedly broke out in Skyline’s gymnasium. At the time of release, officials had yet to make a ruling on the cause of the fire. Fortunately, it was quickly contained, and no injuries were reported.

A Unified Fire Authority spokesperson stated, “We arrived at the building and found smoke inside of the gym. Some flames had already made it outside of the building. We were able to quickly diffuse the situation.” The crew estimated the fire was sparked right around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Both these incidents will require some significant repair investments due to damage. The fires were extinguished before any injuries could occur but there was damage due to the burning of tar and insulation.

Horsley stated on the Friday after the fire that it would not affect school attendance, as the following day was a previously planned non-attendance day.