Hooper Bay students have not been in class since school let out for winter break. A frozen pipe burst in the Hooper Bay school about a month ago, flooding the building and canceling classes. Originally scheduled to reopen earlier this week, repairs are taking a little longer than planned. Classes are now set to start this coming Monday, Feb. 3.
The floors inside Hooper Bay School are bare concrete. Principal David Harris says that sections of wall are also missing.
“We had damaged carpet; we had to take that out. We had some damaged drywall; we had to take that out,” Harris said. “And we’ll get the kids back in here, we’ll finish the school year strong.”
The repairs will continue through the summer and will include replacing much of the school furniture, as well as larger projects like adding linoleum flooring. Harris says that school workers have been focusing on shorter-term fixes to get the school back open as soon as possible. Most of the work has been done by about 20 staff members that the school employs on an hourly basis.
“So everyone was able to maintain a paycheck during the time that the school was shut down, and of course the teachers are all on a contract, so they’re paid by salary,” Harris said.
During the students’ extended winter break, Davis says that he’s seen kids either helping out their families, playing outside when temperatures allow, or hitting the court. Flooding may have canceled classes, but the damage spared the school gym and didn’t stop rural Alaska’s favorite sport: basketball.
“We’ve only missed out on one tournament that was scheduled here. They’ve been able to travel to the pre-arranged tournaments,” Harris said.
Students return to class Feb. 3, the same week of one of the school’s largest home tournaments, the Bering Sea Classic. Tipoff begins Wednesday, Feb. 5.