The final tab for flood-damaged Ferrucci Junior High School could tally more than $200,000, according to preliminary estimates from Puyallup School District officials.
Meanwhile, the district plans to seek approval from the state to excuse Ferrrucci’s 800 students from making up the three days they missed due to the flood closure.
The Puyallup School Board meets Monday, and one item on the agenda is a request to seek a waiver from the state for the missed days.
Rudy Fyles, the district’s chief operations officer, said Friday that the insurance provider has authorized payment of $25,000 for direct cleanup costs. He said the district is continuing to negotiate to see if insurance will cover more.
Fyles said the bulk of the cost so far has been initial cleanup of debris and drying out the school, which was damaged after heavy downpours in the early hours of Sept. 6. He said the district’s initial bill from Servpro, a cleanup and restoration company, was for $160,000.
Fyles said Ferruci’s roof is about 8 years old, and an inspection uncovered no problems.
Instead, officials determined that flooding occurred after storm sewer water backed up into parts of the school’s overhead air ventilation system.
“It was like a giant showerhead,” Fyles said, describing the water that rained down in the school’s science wing, damaging 15 classrooms — three more than initially reported.
District officials said workers cleaned storm drains and downspouts throughout the district in advance of the storm. But they believe the massive downpour exposed a design flaw — one that has likely been present since the school was constructed in 1982.
Ventilation system condensation was routed directly into the storm sewer drainpipes, they believe. Fyles said the flaw has been fixed, and the district plans to inspect other schools to make sure the same design problem isn’t present elsewhere.
Fyles said the Ferruci building had not flooded before this incident.
After the flood, air quality tests were done repeatedly to ensure the school is free from mold problems, he said.