• Sabina Csak

North Mianus Experiences Ceiling Collapse and Pipe Burst

Updated: Mar 25

On Saturday, Feb. 13, North Mianus School experienced a pipe burst, major flooding and the collapse of the ceiling. Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened, but some suggest the pipe leakage is the cause of the destruction.

This directly impacted the school’s media center, which experienced flooding after the incident. The ceiling also happened to be right above a fourth grade classroom and destroyed its interior. Luckily, there was no school in session during the incident, and no one was injured.

Construction outside of the classroom (Photo credit: Elizabeth Casolo)

Due to all the damage, both Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones and North Mianus Principal Angela Schmidt announced that all students would be participating in remote learning for the week of Feb. 14.

As of Feb. 19, it was decided that Old Greenwich School, Riverside School and Julian Curtiss School would be joining North Mianus in being fully remote since those buildings are roughly the same age. To prevent further damage, inspections are being done at these buildings, and the engineers don’t want students or faculty present while safety tests are being run.

“A ceiling collapse feels like just another chapter in the saga of our COVID year. But adaptation and perseverance have been hard-wired into all of us at this point - both our family and the whole district,” said GHS teacher Stephen Collins, who is also the parent of a NMS student.

At this time, an investigation is being done at the North Mianus. So far, it has been determined that no hazardous material was present, and the water has also been cleared. However, the order of events still has not been determined, whether the sprinkler pipe caused the ceiling to fall or the other way around.

Many are comparing this case to that of Cos Cob School. In Oct. 2018, a sink malfunctioned and caused flooding in the building. It cost Greenwich $1.9 million to repair the 20 thousand square feet of space damaged. It also took three months to get all the students back into the building full time. During the repairs, the affected classes had been relocated to various schools, including Parkway School and Old Greenwich School.

However, due to current circumstances with the pandemic, it is unlikely that students will be relocated to other schools and may need to remain remote for a while.

Nobody thought something would strike the school harder than COVID-19. Through the dark times, faculty are striving to remain positive with a clear outlook on the future.

“We have faced many challenges this year as we struggled to navigate the unchartered waters of the Coronavirus,” said Schmidt, “but North Mianus is a resilient and collaborative school community. We are fortunate to have an outstanding staff and incredibly supportive parents who always put the needs of our children first.”

Although it may seem like having another tragedy take place on top of the pandemic would lower one’s spirit, Collins thinks differently.

“Truth is, if this had happened 18 months ago, I don’t think any of us would have prepared to deal with the ‘fallout’ (no pun intended). This too, shall pass.”

The community has already come so far in a year full of twists and turns that nothing can stop them.

Schmidt reminded everyone to stay positive and said, “Though I know we face challenges ahead I am confident we will be united in our efforts to provide our students with a rigorous and secure learning environment regardless of where they may be.”

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