Yucca rushing to get ready

Paul Vernon, project superintendent for LCI2, looks at a drop ceiling damaged by rain at Yucca Junior High School. (Staff photo: Andy DeLislie)

By Marlena Hartz : CNJ staff writer

Floating floor tiles, damaged plaster and soaked carpets greeted school officials last week after rain seeped through portions of a partially constructed roof and flooded Yucca Junior High School, compounding years of water damage at the school.

School officials say repairs will likely stretch through the first semester, although a construction crew is scrambling to fix the extensive rain damage in the remaining weeks before school begins.

“We are going to give Yucca all the help they need,” Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said during a Tuesday school board meeting.

“Everything will be clean and sanitary (when school starts), but (it) won’t be shining,” she said.

School begins Aug. 16, and the repairs should be complete around December, according to Clovis Schools Director of Operations Gene Bieker. Construction is being funded by the schools’ insurance company, he said.

The last estimate for the cost of repairs was $400,000, but according to Bieker, that number could escalate as damage is further assessed.
Bieker said water damage has been accumulating for three years due to leaky roofs, a problem officials say plagues school districts across New Mexico.

Once school launches, the remainder of the repairs at Yucca will be minor, such as replacing damaged carpets, Seidenwurm said. Left untreated, water damaged structures can develop dangerous molds and mildew, making repairs imperative, she said.

School officials said any inconvenience that may be caused by the construction is better than delaying the start of school.

School employees who must prepare for the start of school are being temporarily housed in a portable building on campus while construction workers finish the bulk of the repairs.

Bieker said parents will be apprised of the situation at Yucca as it progresses, and should receive information about the construction and damage by next week.

Yucca is the most densely populated school in the district, and repairs on its roof began last year, school officials said.

New school roofs in the district and the state are being built at a slight angle to allow water run-off, officials said.