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When janitor Randy Bearden arrived at Cairo High School around 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday, he was shocked to find approximately two inches of water in the front lobby of the school.
Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said one of the original water pipes beneath the lobby’s concrete floor had burst, and the leaking water opened up a hole in the floor and flooded the lobby and surrounding area.
School system maintenance department crews were dispatched and began to dig up the floor to locate the origin of the leak.
“The first thought was to cancel school, but with buses already on routes it was best to proceed with school and evaluate the situation once we knew more about the problem. We were forced to shut off water to the main building which meant no water on the campus other than in the new gym and the College and Career Center,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Students were directed to those two locations to use the restrooms throughout the day and the superintendent purchased 600 bottles of water and hand sanitizer to make available in the main building.
According to Dr. Gilliard, needed repairs were completed by approximately 2 p.m. and water service was restored.
Cleanup efforts began immediately and over the Christmas break the superintendent says carpeting in the front lobby will be replaced with luxury vinyl tile, which has been used in other school facilities here.
The main building and original wings of Cairo High School were constructed in 1956. Dr. Gilliard said another water pipe burst earlier in the year, but it was outside the main building.
“Unfortunately, we are going to continue to have issues like this with a 63-year-old building,” Dr. Gilliard said.