Projects planned to stop school flooding


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Last week’s drizzly weather set an appropriate mood for the Williston School Board, which spent a chunk of its first meeting of the school year looking at water issues at Williston Central School.
Lyall Smith, the district’s new head of building and grounds, told the board that drainage issues in front of the school were one of the first things brought to his attention when he took up his post on July 1.
Poor drainage is causing water that flows off the roof to pool in front of the school and seep into the school itself. The board approved approximately $48,000 to address the issue and awarded a contract to New Haven-based Parker Excavation, based on engineering consulting by Donald L. Hamlin Consulting Engineers.
“This is stormwater that we’re not managing well,” Smith told the board on Sept. 16, as recorded by RETN. “The result is it’s sitting in huge ponds in front of our building and some of it is getting under the slab, the crushed stone under there and working its way into low-lying areas like the auditorium and the kiva.”
A drip drain under the pitched roof—a thin layer of grass with fabric covering crushed stone and perforated pipes—has become compacted over time, meaning it takes a long time for water to saturate the soil and enter the stormwater pipes.
Parker Excavating will install drain basins and catch basins and grade the area to properly drain water to the stormwater system. Officials hope the project can begin as soon as possible.
More water troubles are coming the board’s way, likely for a decision in October. Ventilation problems in parts of the school’s attic is causing ice dams, which in turn cause water to build up under the ice and find its way through the building’s seams—and into classrooms.
Smith said he intends to find the areas in the attic where the most heat loss is occurring and find the best ways to stop the heat loss and improve ventilation. The board will likely see quotes for required work in October.
The Williston schools are also among the properties in town with stormwater permits that are out of compliance with new federal and state MS4 requirements. The school district has agreed to work with the town Public Works Department to satisfy the permit requirements.