St. Pauls School Flood ReconstructionIn May 2006, St. Paul’s School was forced to close the school and send students home due to massive spring flooding. Flood waters washed through the campus destroying sections of road, sewer, drainage, telephone, electric, cable, steam, water and gas lines. The following day, as floods began to subside, St. Paul’s School called North Branch Construction to assess the damage to the infrastructure and six campus buildings and to work with the school facilities department to create a disaster recovery plan. With the school scheduled to resume fall classes in 3 months, North Branch Construction began work immediately. There was no architect for this project. Working with the school facilities department, each building was assessed, budget estimates prepared for construction and insurance purposes and construction teams assigned for each building. The school began dehumidification immediately to limit mold issues. Six faculty apartments were temporarily vacated.
The buildings affected by the flooding included the Ohrstrom Library, Kittridge Dormitory, Clark Health Center, Post Office, Hargate Art Center and the Old Chapel. Each building suffered different levels of destruction from minor mechanical repairs in the basement of the Old Chapel to lead and asbestos abatement, replacement of doors, frames, four feet high drywall, millwork, flooring, heavy mechanical and electrical replacement including switchpanels, transformers, controls, fire alarm, boilers and water heaters in the Hargate Art Center. Two historical buildings required structural foundation reinforcement.
As students returned to classes in September, all the buildings, except the Hargate Arts Center were complete. Roads were rebuilt and the sitework was complete. Temporary classrooms were set up in the Hargate Arts Center first floor, while work was completed on the basement level which required a gut renovation. Hargate was completed in early December.
This project was an example of crisis management at its best. From volunteers at the school working to save precious historical books and items as the flood waters rose to dehumidification and resource coordination of over 200 workers on site throughout the summer, it was an acomplishment for all involved to be proud of. With the original scope of work complete, work began in October to repair the dam which was also damaged by the flooding. The dam was rebuilt and back in operation in December, 2006. In October 2007, North Branch was awarded the Associated Builders and Contractors “Excellence in Construction” Award in the Design/Build category for this project.