Students return to Meadowdale Elementary School months after flood damage

Apr 9, 2024, 4:19 PM

Image: Meadowdale Elementary School in Lynnwood reopened Tuesday, April 9 after being closed for se...

Meadowdale Elementary School in Lynnwood reopened Tuesday, April 9 after being closed for several months due to flooding. (Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

Nearly four months after burst pipes flooded more than a dozen classrooms at Meadowdale Elementary School, students and staff walked back through the doors of their newly-repaired school on Tuesday morning.

Before the first bell, students raced from the parking lot, passing under a big blue sign reading “Welcome Back, Eagles!”

The school, located in Lynnwood, has undergone extensive work since a bitter cold snap hit Western Washington in mid-January. Despite monitoring and preparations in advance of the weather, several water pipes had frozen and burst over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Edmonds School District said.

Previous coverage: Bitter cold sweeps through Western Washington

Edmonds District Assistant Superintendent Greg Schwab said Meadowdale was inspected and given the all clear about a half-hour before the flood.

“We knew this was coming. We left our boilers on, let our buildings run 24/7. We had people checking on our buildings during the long holiday weekend,” he told KIRO Newsradio. “We thought we did everything right. And still the damage happens.”

After closing school for two days, the students briefly transferred to remote learning before being moved to Woodway Center in Edmonds, a vacant school about eight miles away.

Numerous local school districts in the area also suffered damaged water and sewer pipes. Schwab said just within the insurance group that covers Meadowdale, “there over 40 claims for damaged pipes from this last cold snap.”

But Meadowdale saw some of the worst damage, with 14 of its 22 classrooms affected by the flooding. Schwab said the long-term cleanup involved removing carpet and tile, tearing sheetrock off walls, and removing damp and damaged insulation.

Fortunately for the school, most of the repairs will be covered by insurance. While many general homeowner and business policies do not cover flood damage, some opt to add additional coverage through the federally-run National Flood Insurance Program, especially if they reside in flood-prone areas.

School gets upgrades after flood damage

While the district aimed to restore the building to its original condition, a few additional improvements were implemented.

“Some additional insulation was put in the ceiling,” Schwab said. “That’s where the pipes were. We wanted to make sure that this didn’t happen again.”

The students’ spring break last week provided an opportunity for furniture and equipment to be moved back into the school.

“Our maintenance staff and our custodial staff and contractors that worked on the school, they did an amazing job of getting it ready,” Schwab said. “We were aiming for spring break. And we got there.”

More from Kate Stone: Man arrested after car plows into scaffolding in downtown Seattle crash

Schwab also credited the Meadowdale community saying they, “did an amazing job of rolling with things.”

“They made it work. It was definitely not what anybody wanted to do. And I think we ended up only needing four days of remote learning before we were able to reopen at Woodway,” Schwab said.

Teachers took the day Monday to set up their classrooms before welcoming the approximately 450 students back Tuesday morning.

The Edmonds School District created a “before and after” video of Meadowdale Elementary to showcase both the damage and the repair work completed. It can be seen below or you can view it on YouTube here.

You can read more of Kate Stone’s stories here. Follow Kate on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Students return to Meadowdale Elementary School months after flood damage