Wilson renovates office amid flooding

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Wilson renovates office amid flooding

Courtesy of Kimberly Martin

Courtesy of Kimberly Martin

Courtesy of Kimberly Martin

Max Karp

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Wilson’s front office and entire first floor flooded after a large storm in July. Flooding was caused by damaged water pipes that couldn’t hold the excessive amount of rain that the month saw. Main office staffers had to relocate and some experienced adverse effects stemming from the floodwater. Custodians worked strenuously to fix the damaged hallways.

The flooding first began when water entered the school after the torrential downpour on July 8th. Many other locations in the DC area saw similar negative impacts of the flooding as streets were blocked and houses damaged. After water reached the main office, staff members tried to keep it from spreading, but were unsuccessful. 

“There was too much water coming too fast, and [our] efforts were in vain. We all began moving boxes, files, and other vulnerable items onto higher surfaces,” Wilson main office staff member Elizabeth Levenson said. “We also began unplugging all of the computers and printers when it occurred to us that one faulty cord could possibly electrify the two-inch-deep water that we were all wading through,” she added.

Following the initial flooding, first-floor staff members experienced symptoms from toxins that had spread as a result of the waterlogging of the floor. “Staff members experienced wheezing, coughing, sore throats, and hives, and some were forced to take time off,” Levenson explained.

The Department of General Services (DGS) sent a representative to Wilson to examine main office staffers for adverse effects stemming from mold and other rainwater developments. The representative also inspected floors and walls that were affected by the flooding. “A new floor and new walls were finished in the main office. The padding underneath the carpet wouldn’t dry, so it was taken out,” said Principal Kimberly Martin.

Besides the first day of flooding, the front office remained open throughout the summer. The main office was moved first to the counseling suite and later to the second floor in Room 202. With the movement of computers and other main office supplies, the office was able to function normally during the summer. Tasks like enrolling students for the upcoming school year, handing out diplomas, and answering phone calls carried on despite the new location. 

“This flood has been a test of our staff’s flexibility, resilience, and dedication to Wilson, and in my opinion, we have passed with flying colors,” Levenson said.