Board Gets Update on Satellite High School, Walnut Elementary

Board Gets Update on Satellite High School, Walnut Elementary

Repairs on Walnut Elementary School continue after a January 2 flood temporarily closed the school and moved students and staff to Desert View Elementary.

ROCK SPRINGS — Sweetwater County School District No. 1 Facilities Director Dan Selleroli told the Board of Trustees last night that the new satellite high school is off to a great start since opening last week.

Selleroli said he’s most pleased with the response by the students attending the new school.

“The first time you hear kids, who don’t know who you are, walk passed you and you overhear their conversations saying how nice that building is, 80 percent of everything that was ticking me off was gone,” Selleroli said.

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Selleroli said one minor glitch so far had been with the school elevator. New codes regulate that a landline phone be connect to the elevator or “they won’t even give you the keys to it.” He said the district had the phone lines in place, but the inspectors hadn’t checked them yet. However, they were able to correct the issue and the elevator passed code for the school opening.

The school is also operating under a “fire watch” for the next 90 days. Selleroli explained that an annunciator card, which controls audio instructions when an alarm is activated, has burned up and the district is in the process of replacing it.

However, the district doesn’t know specifically when that part will be delivered because of current supply chain issues. So Assistant State Fire Marshall Mark Young has given the district permission to operate under a fire watch. This procedure allows designated individuals to walk the building as a safety precaution every hour that students are in the building.

The district is inviting the public to an open house at the satellite high school on Monday, January 24.

Walnut School Flood Mitigation

The District continues to work on repairs from the flooding incident that occurred at Walnut Elementary School on January 2.

Selleroli said a faulty flow control switch on one of the school’s fire lines resulted major damage particularly in the central part of the building.

“Within a half hours time at 55 psi on a 2-inch line you get an awful of water,” he said. “The water was leaking from above the ceiling up by the mechanical room, so needless to say it took down most of the ceilings in the central part of the school.”

Following a flood at Overland Elementary School several years ago, the State of Wyoming changed its laws and made up to $500,000 available to school districts for emergency maintenance until insurance kicked in, Selleroli said.

“So from the minute I stepped on the site we were covered with major maintenance money and the repairs have already begun,” he said.

The Walnut school community has temporarily moved to Desert View Elementary School until the damages can be repaired.

Board chairwoman Carol Jelaco took the opportunity to address rumors about the district intentionally flooding the building and shutting the school down permanently.

“We had an opportunity two years ago when we consolidated the district to look at Walnut, and we chose to keep a building on that side of the city open for a reason.”

SCSD No. 1 Board of Trustees Chairwoman Carol Jelaco

She added students and staff will be back at Walnut just as soon as the school repairs are finished and it’s safe to go back into the building.

Selleroli said maintenance plans for Walnut school this summer include “chillers” and that the district “certainly wouldn’t be going through a nearly $1 million expense” if it was trying to permanently close the school.