ALMA, Ark. (KFSM) — A smart water meter is to blame for nearly 30,000 gallons of water that flooded the Alma High School gym.
Faulty installation of the water meter left the sports arena and several classrooms submerged under several inches of water.
The arena floor has now been ripped up and school officials are working to get things back to normal before school starts back up this fall.
“Our primary focus is gonna be classrooms,” Alma High School Principal Brian Kirkendoll said. “If we can get the classrooms that were affected below the arena then we feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted to before school starts but it could take a couple months of the arena surface ready.”
On Friday, a new water meter was installed at the high school, but it wasn’t until Sunday when school officials discovered water pouring from the janitor’s storage closet where the meter was placed. Lugs were not screwed on tight enough, which is what caused the leak.
“It went in every crook and cranny you can imagine,” Kirkendoll said. “Some of the classrooms were flooded from the ground but some of them came through the ceilings so it landed on top of materials.”
Alma Mayor Jerry Martin posted a video on Facebook saying that the City purchased the new meters through Ferguson Water Works, who in turn had contracted with Advanced Utility Services out of Little Rock to install the meters.
Martin makes it clear in the video that Ferguson Water Works will be held responsible and that it had already been handed over to the City’s attorney.
Moving forward throughout the week, their goal is to order the necessary floor coverings and materials that they lost during the flooding. Kirkendoll says this has been a stressful time the last couple of days but they are persistent in doing what they can before school begins in August.
“It’s more stressful and busier than our normal summer because we are having to fix so many things,” Kirkendoll said. “You have certain things you have scheduled in the summer to do that you postpone during the school year so you can do during the summer Well now those things have been postponed because of the damage we have here.”
Kirkendoll adds he is really impressed with everyone who they have been working with including the contractor and insurance agents. There is no word yet on how much the repairs will cost, but school officials say it could approach $1 million for the basketball court.