Schools on isthmus ready for the first day of school

- In Madison's Marquette neighborhood, you can find sandbags just about everywhere including around Marquette Elementary and Georgia O'Keeffe Middle School.

According to Chad Wiese, the building services director for the Madison Metropolitan School District, Marquette O'Keeffe as well as Lapham Elementary were buildings of concern as water began rising around the isthmus about two weeks ago.

"We have pumps on standby, back up power on standby and have essentially had 24/7 watch on those two buildings," he said.

On top of that, he said they've been sandbagging vulnerable areas like the doors and windows as well as the boiler room. 

"In the interior of the building, we've stayed dry, which we feel really good about so we don't see any impact on instruction or the start of the school year," he said.

That's good news for Madison neighborhoods that already have their own flooding concerns to worry about. Justin Cruz lives in the Marquette neighborhood and said while he hasn't seen any flooding yet in his home, it's constantly on his mind.

"Every day kind of becomes about what's the weather doing, have you looked at the street drain? Have you checked the basement?" he said.

His daughter is starting sixth grade at O'Keeffe Middle and he said he heard from the school almost daily about how it has been managing the flood waters.

"We feel pretty confident that if they say it's ready to open then it's probably ready to open," he said.

As Cruz's daughter and her classmates head to school, Wiese said he'll still be watching the water around the school to make sure any more rain won't cause any problems.

"This is not going away anytime in the near future so we'll be on standby just like we've been for the past two weeks," he said.

Besides the preparations to the buildings, the district says it altered a few bus stops to avoid flooded areas.

The district is also asking parents who are dropping off their kids to avoid Jenifer Street outside Marquette O'Keeffe because the road has already flooded a number of times with each major rainfall.

For more go to WKOW:

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