Ardmore Middle School is still recovering from a busted water line that flooded it two weeks ago, but the administration is working around the situation to finish the school year on schedule.
Half of the school is still blocked off, including the cafeteria, gym and library. The flooding started in the kitchen when a water line to the fire sprinkler system burst, sending several thousand gallons of water gushing into the building on May 4. The school was closed, but teachers present for a professional development day called for help and bailed water out of the building until it arrived.
“It could have been so much worse,” ACS Assistant Superintendent Jill Day said. “I can’t say enough about how thankful and proud we are of our teachers and custodial staff. They saved that building.”
The water only gushed for about 20 minutes, but the damage was done. There are still repair workers and industrial fans scattered throughout the building, keeping the air quality and humidity at safe levels.  Water made it to the school’s library, but Day said most if not all of the books were saved. Some of the shelves did get soaked, but crews are using machines to dry them out. The gym floor was not as lucky. Water gushed under the wooden planks and warped it irreversibly, making peaks and valleys out of the once-flat surface.
“It’s gone,” Day said. “It had nothing salvageable about it. It’s already been cut out.”
The school reopened on Tuesday after an inspection, but only half of it is usable. As a result, sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes are all playing musical chairs en masse, taking turns having class in the building and doing other activities outside of it.
For the adults, it poses a dilemma. For kids, not so much. Sixth graders were already scheduled to be at environmental summer camp this week. Ardmore Chamber of Commerce acted fast and helped organize two field trips for seventh and eighth graders, one to the Goddard Center and a Career Day at Mercy Hospital, that filled their school day.
“They’re having school, but not the normal routine,” Day said.
 Different grade levels will rotate in and out of the school building for end-of-the-year activities that would have been scheduled either way. On Friday, sixth graders will return from camp and have class in the building while eighth graders celebrate their promotion at First  United Methodist Church. The final day of school is next Monday, May 21.
Day said the district will continue to give updates on the building’s progress throughout summer through their Facebook page and website.
“As soon as the kids are gone Monday, they can start working more deeply on repairs,” Day said. “They’ll be doing some deep cleaning next Tuesday.”