Weatherford Democrat

December 20, 2013

School’s band hall strikes happier tune after floods

Some parents remain frustrated over district’s handling of issue


Weatherford Democrat

— By SALLY SEXTON

The Hall Middle School band hall has a new, improved look after construction following two flooding incidents in September and December.

The first incident of water damage occurred Sept. 23, as a result of age and rust of an HVAC hot water coil, which was replaced.

After repairs, students were back in class practicing for about a month before a second event occurred Dec. 2, this time flooding caused by a faulty HVAC controller. On Dec. 2 and 3, Rich Bahner, Hall band director, identified instruments that were damaged, and the instruments were taken to Johnny Paul’s music to be assessed for possible repairs, according to a letter sent out to parents and staff by WISD assistant superintendent of business and operations Tracy Ray.

“We received a report from [Johnny Paul’s music] late Friday afternoon, with a recommendation of what to replace and what to repair,” Ray said.

In total, 88 instruments were damaged during the incidents. Ray said the district will submit the report for insurance reimbursement. In the meantime, students are practicing in different classrooms and band directors are working together to possibly distribute instruments from other campuses that are not being used.

“We’ve also been in contact with several area school districts to see if they have anything they can loan us in the interim time,” Ray said. “We’re hoping to get our repair order out this week and perhaps get that filled during the holidays.”

In the last several weeks, parents voiced their concerns over the incidents and how it impacted students.

“I’m very concerned with how the district is handling their maintenancs issues,” said one parent, who declined to be named. “It is ridiculous. Christmas is coming up, we probably won’t have a Christmas concert, our eighth graders aren’t being properly prepared for high school band, etc.”

In response to communication she had gotten from parents and staff, Ray sent out a letter Dec. 13, addressing the concerns and providing a timeline of the restoration process following the September flood, followed by a timeline outlining procedures to be done to correct the second incident.

“We’re working diligently to get this taken care of,” Ray said. “Of course, we wish it hadn’t happened in the first place, but we’re working extremely hard to get these students back into their spaces to begin practicing again.

“I don’t blame them for being frustrated.”

Due to the flooding, holiday concerts and events were cancelled for the month. Around 250 students are in the Hall band program this year.

Ray said the district is hoping to have the final clean-up of the hall completed in mid-January.

Here is a timeline of the events involving the band hall:

September

Water removal, drywall removal, carpet removal, installation of dehumidifiers, drying out process.

October

Purchasing and delivery of materials for repair, vinyl base removal, drywall removal in preparation for new drywall, removal of acoustic sound boards for cleaning, cleaning of windows and walls, repair of 156 linear feet of drywall, three layers of drywall to sound rooms, tape, bed and texture, paint preparation, wiping down walls and caulking, covering up and masking, painting of entire band hall including large practice room, small practice rooms, storage rooms and office, removal of masking paper, cleaning and touching up paint, installation of acoustic sound boards, installation of musical instrument storage lockers, installation of carpet and base.

November

Final cleanup and moving contents back into band hall

December

Water removal, content removal, carpet removal, drywall removal, partial removal of acoustic sounding boards, install dehumidifiers, wheelchair lift repair, HVAC controls and freeze stat repairs and drywall repair.

January

Paint preparation and painting for damaged areas, paint touch up, installation of musical instrument storage lockers and final clean-up.