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Lubbock ISD hopes for Monday return as crews assess damage left by winter storm

Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:13 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock ISD wasn’t spared from the effects of the winter storm, which left some of its classrooms flooded and ceilings collapsed in other facilities.

“We are already in a place if we had gone to school [Friday], we could have taken kids in, if it had not been for the frozen pipes that we don’t know about,” Chief Operations Officer Rick Rodriguez said. “The biggest stressor is not knowing what we don’t know.”

Rodriguez told KCBD on Friday that district facility crews, along with Sodexo, continue to comb school campuses searching for leaks and damage as pipes thaw out. In an email to families and staff Thursday to announce the cancelation of school, Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo said, “As pipes thaw, we are encountering leaks, water damage, a lack of heat, and ice accumulations on most campuses.”

“We’re still not done,” Rodriguez said. “We’re still waiting to completely thaw out. We still have some pipes that are frozen. We still have some roofs that are frozen.”

Those crews still monitoring the facilities teamed up over the past week to walk through school campuses every two hours, since energy conservation requests forced the district to cut back on heating and other preventative measures that usually protect against frozen pipes and leaks.

“We caught some things, heaters that weren’t working properly,” Rodriguez said. “We got them repaired and up and running. I think that saved lots more damage that could have happened if we had not been doing that.”

While Rodriguez said they were not able to catch everything, damage has only been found in six facilities. Classroom cleanup has been prioritized to get kids back in them on Monday.

“We’re never going to put our kids in a school where their safety is compromised,” Rodriguez said. “That’s our highest priority. We would never bring kids back to school if we did not think it was safe.”

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