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Stamford, Conn.'s Strawberry Hill Elementary Getting Rehab Due to Hurricane Ida

Tue November 23, 2021 - Northeast Edition
Stamford Advocate


Work to remedy water damage at Stamford, Conn.'s Strawberry Hill School got under way Nov. 22, with a plan to complete the project by early January.

The school, the most recently constructed building in the district, also suffered the worst damage of all Stamford schools during Hurricane Ida in early September. The first floor had extensive damage to kindergarten classrooms, the main office, hallways, the teachers' lounge and the gym, according to the Advocate.

In all, the cost estimate for flood-related repairs at the school is just under $700,000. The most extensive harm was to the walls on the first floor, a repair that is estimated to cost $500,000.

Jericho, N.Y., property damage consultant J.S. Held suggested to the Stamford school system that contractors remove sheetrock in various locations on the first floor of Strawberry Hill, in addition to some cabinets, vinyl molding and carpets in two rooms.

However, Kevin McCarthy, director of facility operations of Stamford Public Schools, assured parents that mold has not been discovered at the school, even after the flooding.

"To date, we have not identified visible mold within the occupied spaces impacted by water," he wrote in an emailed message. "The repair project involves removing water impacted materials to inhibit the growth of mold on the materials."

Previously, Superintendent Tamu Lucero said officials attempted to dry out the flooded areas over three days, but moisture remained. It was decided that parts of the first floor would have to be torn up.

Strawberry Hill Principal Frank Rodriguez sent a letter to parents earlier in November detailing the upcoming work, which he said will take place after school hours, primarily in the evening.

The initial work started on two kindergarten classrooms after students in those classes were moved to alternate rooms.

In early December, three more classes will undergo nine days of construction, Rodriguez wrote in his email. After work is finished, students from those classrooms will be able to return to their original learning spaces in early January.

"Please note that this is a best estimate of the time frame for the construction of this phase," Rodriguez wrote.

Each of the Stamford district's 21 public schools suffered some form of damage from the storm to the tune of roughly $2 million, McCarthy noted in a memo in September.

The Stamford news source reported the school system expects that all the costs will be covered either by insurance or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just approved by President Biden on Nov. 2.

Most of the damage was minor, resulting in roof and window leaks, and flooded floor drains and catch basins, McCarthy told the Advocate.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed Stamford during the overnight hours of Sept. 1-2, dumping approximately 8.1 in. of rain, the most significant amount of rainfall it has seen in a short amount of time since 1955, city officials said in a news release. The National Weather Service reported that most of the rainfall occurred over a three-hour period.




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