Saturday, July 30, 2016

Princeton High School Flooded Again

Why are thousands of gallons of water flowing into the Princeton High School basement?

And more water flowing under the door that leads directly to the wood stage of the high school performing arts center?

The first answer is poor design by the architect, who didn't consider where stormwater would flow during prolonged downpours like the one we had today.

A big storm in 2009 damaged the wooden stage, which then had to be replaced at great expense.

Walnut Street was one foot deep in water after torrential rains this afternoon, and because the performing arts and science wings of the school were built lower than the street, water flowed towards the school rather than away from it, causing massive flooding.

Since 2009, I have raised concern with school superintendents and facilities directors, town engineers and a few council members, on five separate occasions about the potential for a destructive repeat flood. The only response that I'm aware of was that staff would place sandbags against the doors to block the floodwater. It was a bandaid approach, and when Princeton got hit this afternoon with a big downpour, there were no sandbags to be seen.

Here's a 2011 post that explains why the flooding occurs, and offered a solution. A now retired science teacher, Tim Anderson, and I explained the solution to school staff a year or two ago. How frustrating to see what looks like a repeat of 2009's flood, with no action taken in the interim.

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