COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Chunks of ceiling tile had to be removed Monday at Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS) after water entered the classroom, per Columbus City School District.
Spokesperson Scott Varner said Sunday's drop in temperatures caused a copper coil to break along the exterior wall of a second floor classroom. Varner said water leaked into the classroom below, forcing crews to remove chunks of ceiling tiles.
“The water then leaked to the classroom below on the first floor. In tracking the leak, our crews pulled down wet ceiling tiles. There was no ceiling collapse. The impact was minimal and, unless something more comes up, those two classrooms will be back in operation tomorrow,” said Varner, CCS spokesman.
CAHS students said they were shocked finding fallen ceiling tiles and water damage in a physics classroom as well as a classroom for special needs children. “While the extent of the damage isn't known yet, one thing is clear, the conditions of this building remain a safety hazard to our students and staff," said junior Brandon Simmons, who is in the Civic Education and Leadership Academy. "We also know several boxes of science supplies are water damaged.”
Video posted by a student online showed the extent of the damage. The building is one of the oldest in the district, built in 1926.
"Happy Monday. Just another day at CAHS," said the student.
According to Simmons, the classroom affected was a special education classroom.
“We know this issue is not singular to CAHS, as many other CCS schools deal with these issues," said CAHS senior and Civic Education and Leadership Academy Chairman Andrew Pierce. "Students deserve a safe and modern learning environment, and this is a clear indication that is not being met,"
Pierce said people reported a weird odor in the building.
“We had students citing urine either mildew, or some type of mold smell," Pierce said. "We don’t exactly know what it is. What we want is an independent inspection, not necessarily from the board but a contractor within the city of Columbus. Have an independent inspector come in and see what really needs to be done to help our school and change some of these building conditions.”
Students led a recent public tour of the building to spotlight issues with heating and cooling, aging electric structures, pest control and bathrooms.
The district has written a fact-sheet on the issues at CAHS, and it said in part: “The infrastructure challenges create an inconvenience for students and staff, but are not hazardous or a health risk.”
Replacing CAHS would come with a $40 million price tag. In a previous interview Varner said, “if we are going to have that conversation, you have to talk about where would those dollars come from. Is that part of a larger voter-approved bond package? We might have to consider.”
The school district said the classrooms should be back in operation Tuesday.