TPHS Learning Commons opens after flooding closure

november/december cover story

The TPHS Learning Commons reopened on Dec. 5 after being closed for more than two weeks due to a water heater failure that led to significant flooding in the B Building.

The water heater, located near the north staff bathrooms in the upper level of the B Building, broke early in the morning on Nov. 16, according to Principal Rob Coppo.

Upon arriving at TPHS that morning, Assistant Principal Rebecca Gallow recalled seeing water “cascading” down the staircase in front of the B Building. The Learning Commons and the upper mezzanine of the B Building were closed following the flooding, as district maintenance staff worked to clear the water that had accumulated on the floor. According to Coppo, there approximately one to two inches of standing water in the building. Classes in the B Building were unaffected by the flooding and remained in session.

Coppo said that repairs were made in a much faster manner than he expected. The restoration crew, as well as a private flood repair company, worked through Thanksgiving break to ensure that the Learning Commons would be back up and running for students.

The crew’s fast course of action allowed for very minimal water to seep into the walls which significantly lowered the risk for mold and other larger problems, Coppo said. According to Gallow, the restoration crew replaced damaged portions of the wall in the lower section of the Learning Commons.

FALCONS FACE A FLOOD: A maintenance worker repairs the electrical system in the TPHS Learning Commons. While the Learning Commons avoided major damage, including mold on the walls, computer monitors had to be replaced and sections of multiple walls were rebuilt.

Additionally, the technician crew ordered new computer monitors to replace those damaged in the flooding, according to Coppo.

“I would say that if anything, it continues to teach us flexibility, resilience and … how to handle things like this and how to process through it. It’s a life lesson,” Gallow said.

According to Coppo, all of the staff members who were unable to access their offices in the Learning Commons were moved into the administration building, with a couple of exceptions.

Students like Hannah Feng (11) and Sophie Richardson (11) used the Learning Commons daily prior to the closure.

Before the flooding, Feng arrived at school around 7 a.m. every day to study, as she found it to be a productive environment. Feng is a volunteer for TPHS Peer Tutoring and a member of the TPHS Science Olympiad, which both meet in the Learning Commons. She reported that most meetings came to a halt during the closure or were moved to other locations on campus.

“It’s definitely been a weird shift because it was so routine for me. It felt like muscle memory going in every morning and getting a lot of work done,” Feng said.

Richardson, another TPHS Peer Tutoring volunteer, said that the closure prevented students from receiving academic support for their upcoming finals.

“Since it’s reopened, it’s much easier for students to find [tutors] if they need help, especially so close to finals, and we’re able to keep a designated meeting place,” she said. Feng agreed.

“It’s great to have students getting tutored in the morning and after school again,” she said. “I’ve been going back inside every morning ever since it reopened and it feels exactly the same as it did before the flood.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Staff Ed: The UC system must address the needs of its graduate students
Next post TPHS to construct all-gender bathrooms on campus