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Flood Waters Recede at Bronxville Schools

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville School District employees were busy pumping water from hallways and classrooms on the lower level of school buildings in the hopes that school will open on time next week.

"We are pumping out the rest of the water in the building today, and tomorrow we will begin the restorations," said Assistant Superintendent John Kehoe.

Kehoe said there was at least three feet of water in the lower level of the building where approximately 20 classrooms are located.

The classrooms mainly serve the middle school students, but Kehoe said that in a building that houses students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, there are many shared spaces.

"We have the gym and the cafeteria down there as well," Kehoe said.

After the water has been pumped out, Kehoe said the district will consult an industrial engineer to make sure the flooded areas can be made safe for children.

"Most likely we will be discarding anything that is porous," Kehoe said. "But with things like desks and chairs they will be washed, disinfected and used."

Kehoe said that professionals will come in to do the cleanup to insure the safety of the children.

On the outside of the building, the parking lot on the elementary school side of the building that was completely underwater on Sunday morning, thanks to Tropical Storm Irene, is now nearly clear. Only the top of the soccer net and the highest seat on the bleachers were visible on the playing field, which looked more like a lake.

But a valve that opens and allows the water to drain into the Bronx River, must have opened after the storm subsided.

"The lot on the side of the building pretty much drained itself," Kehoe said.

That had to come as good news to Jim Hudson, president of the board of education, who came to survey the building on Sunday morning.

Hudson said the district just completed approximately $12 million on renovations and repairs from the last flood. The parking lot and the lower level have been plagued by floods for decades.

The project paid to revamp the draining system, move the boiler room and tile the walls of the flood prone areas.

Staffers took additional precautions to secure the building, placing sandbags in front of interior and exterior doors.

"Our staff worked really hard to move furniture to higher floors and get the building ready," Hudson said on Sunday. "If I could, I would go in there myself to help get the building ready for school to open."

Kehoe said the district will make a decision by Friday as to whether school will open on time or not.

"We will be working around the clock and over the weekend doing everything we can to open on time," he said.

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