West by Southwest: Sturgis Navigates a Flood

SturgisSW

When we first heard the news about the flood at Sturgis West, we knew it would be important to document the event. As challenges caused by the flood multiplied, an outpouring of support rose from Sturgis faculty, students, parents and local organizations. The creation of Southwest is a story worth telling. We hope this article will do it justice. 

West by Southwest is divided into five sections: 1. Introduction; 2. Interviews about the Southwest Experience; 3. Photos of Flood Damage, Demolition and Reconstruction; 4. Southwest Timeline (including slideshows for key dates);  5. Southwest Document Resources

1. Introduction

Truc Bui discovers a waterfall at West on Saturday morning 12-10-16

Truc Bui discovers a waterfall at West on Saturday morning
12-10-16

Early on Saturday morning, December 10, Mathematics teacher Truc Bui discovered that an irrigation pipe had exploded in the student kitchen at West Campus.  She quickly informed Sturgis West Principal Jenn Kirk.  Ms. Kirk called Jim Albrecht, Director of Finance and Operations, to ask him to investigate. Mr. Albrecht  was out of town and suggested she call Assistant Business Manager Steve DeTora.

Steve started driving to Sturgis and when he was about halfway to school, he received a text from Jenn Kirk with Truc Bui’s photo (right).  He immediately called Leighton Robinson who is a member of the maintenance crew and told him, “I think we have an issue at West. Can you meet me there?”

When Steve arrived at West, he saw water coming down the hallway into the main lobby and decided to call Carlos Capo, another maintenance crew member, to ask him to come and help as well.  Steve walked through 2 inches of standing water in the atrium to the student kitchen where he saw the broken pipe valve causing water to shoot horizontally into the atrium. He jumped on a counter to try and shut off the valve but it was not possible. He called Jim Albrecht to update him and Jim asked him to shut off the entire water supply to the building. Steve made his way to the basement where he found 4 – 5 inches of standing water on the floors and so much water seeping through the ceiling that he said it felt like he was in a rain forest. Steve and Leighton started shutting off all the valves and in doing so, set off an alarm at the Hyannis Fire Department. The water was turned off by the time fire trucks arrived at 10:15.

First responders Leighton Robinson and Steve DeTora

First responders Leighton Robinson and Steve DeTora

The Fire Department encouraged Steve to call an electrician, a plumber, and the Sturgis IT Coordinator Kathy Power. Firemen pumped water out of the building for an hour and a half until Disaster Specialists arrived around noon.

When Ian Bryant, Project Manager for Disaster Specialists, surveyed the damage with Executive Director Paul Marble at noon, it quickly became clear that damage to the school was extensive and would require a great deal of work to repair; Sturgis West would need to find temporary classroom space during reconstruction.

Thanks to Truc Bui, Steve DeTora, Leighton Robinson, Carlos Capo, Kathy Power, the Hyannis Fire Department and Disaster Specialists for responding quickly and working together to prevent catastrophic damage.

disaster-trucks-001Together, the Hyannis Fire Department and Disaster Specialists devoted approximately eight hours on Saturday to removing water from the building. The main areas of concern were the student kitchen, atrium, basement, elevator/elevator shaft, and the first floor wing from the library to the music room.

On Saturday afternoon, Disaster Specialists set up and ran many forms of drying equipment: 112 fans, dehumidifiers and a negative air machine in order to extract as much water as possible from the air and building materials. Their crew began the tedious process of removing wet drywall and flooring materials. They determined that approximately 12,000 gallons of water had damaged 11,000 square feet of walls and flooring. Clean Harbors pumped 1,864 gallons of water out of the elevator shaft alone. For more details about flood damage including a video Leighton Robinson captured on Saturday morning, see the slide presentation created by Community Outreach Coordinators for the Sturgis Trustees meeting on December 19:

West by Southwest: Sturgis Navigates a Flood

While taking photographs to document the event, the outreach team witnessed many examples of team building and collaborative problem solving. We began to wonder how the Sturgis community had managed to navigate the flood disaster and create a temporary campus so seamlessly.

To gain a wide range of perspectives, we interviewed 17 individuals from Disaster Specialists, Resort and Conference Center, the Sturgis maintenance crew and West students and faculty.

2. Interviews about the Southwest Experience: Sturgis West Faculty and Students

What was the most challenging and difficult part of the move for you, teachers, students, and Sturgis West as a whole?

disaster-day-3-001The first day—getting students into the Resort & Conference Center in this huge open setting and students having to acclimate to the noises and distraction of a 12 class ballroom.  Getting the email the day before I freaked out, thinking about how to keep 400+ people safe in a different location, and not knowing where that location would be.

-Jenna Arledge, Nurse

We ripped out all of the tech so fast after the flood that it was a challenge to think about how to get it back since each piece of technology had to go back in the exact same spot to function correctly.

Kathy Power, IT Coordinator

classrooms-day-2-071For me it was thinking about gathering up everything from my damaged classroom.  I had boxes on the floor with unit plans and assignments from my first five years of teaching that all had water damage.  For students the challenge was keeping a consistency in the classroom routine that felt comfortable and healthy.

Jen Walts, English

Student focus was difficult to keep in a big open (sometimes cold!) conference room.

-John Tecklenburg, Environmental Systems and Societies

Everyone was in two main rooms and with a high noise level it was hard to have a long attention span.  It was hard to find classes but people adapted.

-Sarah Buchanan, Zachary Raye, and Ella Strano, students at West/Southwest

classrooms-day-2-064The general noise of the ballroom was the biggest challenge, especially for students who have a hard time focusing. Teachers worked to adjust how they structured their classes because of the change in classroom environment but also adjusted how loudly they spoke.  It took more prep work because we had to think more in advance about how our lessons fit within the new space.  All of that seemed to take more energy and I was usually more tired after a day than I typically am.

-Al Pagenkopf, Mathematics

classrooms-day-2-056Adjusting to everything on the fly was the biggest challenge and not everyone is as comfortable with that as others.  I think the solution was keeping perspective, and the staff staying positive throughout.  Uncertainty can be difficult for students and there were a lot of things new and uncertain with Southwest.  But kids kept their heads up and turned to each other.

-Alex Houpert, Latin

The move was not significantly challenging to me personally. I am fortunate in that as long I can find a private nook, I can do my work. Other than a little trouble tracking students down, it was surprisingly seamless! Teachers were much more impacted logistically and faced far more significant challenges. I was so impressed by the innovation, resiliency, teamwork, and positive attitudes I witnessed as teachers and students set up shop and got busy teaching and learning despite the barriers they faced. In particular, I was concerned about how they would function without walls. Yet when I observed classes in progress, it was clear that teachers were teaching and students were learning! It seems that everyone rose to the occasion. I hope it felt as successful for them as it appeared to an observer.

Katie McIntosh, Paul Marble and Duke to the rescue

Katie McIntosh, Paul Marble and Duke to the rescue

When we were moving the Monday after the flood, I thought to myself that this could be an opportunity for all of us to try new ways of doing things – perhaps because we were forced to – but nevertheless when we are forced to adapt, often we discover new ways of doing things that are worth hanging onto. Also, these are opportunities to pull together and become more connected, cohesive, and confident as a Team. I both experienced and witnessed this occurring.

-Katie McIntosh, Counselor

The first task was making sure we developed a collective clarity about what was under our control and what we could accomplish. There were many Sturgis values and aspects of our school culture that weren’t affected by the flood; when students arrived on the first day, faculty members were calm and everyone was focused on what we needed to be focused on–student learning.  Many of the spaces at Southwest were not acoustically conducive for teaching and this was difficult for both teachers and students, but the community chose not to focus on the noise issue and allow it to be a barrier.  Everyone readjusted expectations and worked together to adapt.

-Paul Marble, Executive Director

All the equipment and everything we could save from the flood had to be moved upstairs from the basement. It was definitely a workout.

-Carlos Capo, Maintenance

irrigation-pipe-kyle-sevittsStaying calm when I first arrived at the flood scene on Saturday morning; my nerves were a wreck when I saw how much water was in the building.  The situation was extremely time sensitive and many quick decisions had to be made immediately. It was a level of responsibility I never expected to have. Making decisions like the one to call Disaster Specialists, for example, felt like a leap of faith.

-Steve DeTora, Assistant Business Manager

I think the most challenging moment for me was on Saturday morning when I saw the flood at West. There was a lot of water in the atrium, front lobby and kitchen area; the basement was significantly worse. At first, I thought it did not look that bad and could probably be cleaned up by Monday. When I asked Ian Bryant, Project Manager for Disaster Specialists if he thought we could have school on Monday, he said, “This is some of the worst damage I’ve seen. You will definitely not be able to have school on Monday.” That’s when the severity of damage to West first hit me and launched so many unknowns.

Jenn Kirk, Principal, Sturgis West

The amount of water seemed overwhelming but we are here to work so we got it done.

-Leighton Robinson, Maintenance

What was most surprising or unexpected about the Southwest experience?

Jenna Arledge welcomes a student tour to the Nurse's Office

Jenna Arledge welcomes a student tour to the Nurse’s Office

I was surprised at how smooth a transition it was—in general, the tone at Southwest was that of a school. Classes were being taught, work was getting turned in. There was a smooth transition back to West too, which I wouldn’t have necessarily expected.

-Jenna Arledge, Nurse

When I first heard about going to the HRCC I worried about equipment and there were many teachers thinking “I can’t live without X”, but we wound up with extra!  People were very very flexible and willing to help.  It reminded me of the early days at West—people making do with what they have.

Kathy Power, IT Coordinator

Student Tours of Resort and Conference Center December 13, 2016

Student Tours of Resort and Conference Center
December 13, 2016

I was surprised by how students transitioned to Southwest.  It was faster than I expected.

Jen Walts, English

It was remarkable how quickly things got underway; it seemed like an odd but functional school.  We were able to get things done and overall anytime I walked around students were learning and teachers teaching.  I actually kind of liked it.  I got an opportunity to talk to teachers I don’t normally see, got to hear and see other lessons from other disciplines.

-John Tecklenburg, Environmental Systems and Societies

People didn’t want to come back!  The cushioned chairs were popular! Most surprising was that I liked it.  It actually worked.  I was expecting confusion but it just felt like the same school.  I was impressed with how quickly it came together and how everything continued.  After school activities went on, some school clubs met, there were posters and decorations in the “classrooms”.  I was impressed with the administrators and teachers.

      -Sarah Buchanan, Zachary Raye, and Ella Strano, students at West/Southwest

Student Tour led by Al Pagenkopf

Student Tour led by Al Pagenkopf

How well the kids handled it given the potential for chaos.  People were cognizant of noise level and adapted pretty fast.  There was a transfer of routine and people were themselves.  Our faculty adapts quickly!  Everyone stepped up; our student government were leaders in spreading messages through social media and communicating student needs to teachers.  Everybody realized that “this isn’t perfect” but if we go with the flow it will work.  The last day when all of the stuff was off of the walls at the Resort and Conference center and it was a shell of what it had been the day before when it was a school with 400 students inside I thought it was a perfect representation of the idea that “buildings don’t make schools”.

-Al Pagenkopf, Mathematics

classrooms-day-2-088I was surprised how quickly admin responded to a big situation but to other mini situations along the way as well. Teaching in that space I didn’t expect to learn as much about my own teaching but it made me think more about the “how” of the lesson—how to get material across when engagement in a classroom looks different.  We had to be more mindful of others but I think that strengthened the community.  We had to endure a weird challenge with unexpected wrinkles but I think it brings us close because it shows us what we can do.

-Alex Houpert, Latin

To be honest, the success of this Team was not surprising to me. I felt from the beginning that if any school could pull this off successfully, it is ours. The only thing I was surprised by is how quickly the building was repaired and made ready for us to move back in. I honestly suspected we would be displaced for much longer than we were.

Katie McIntosh, Counselor

Opening day advisory at Southwest

Opening day advisory at Southwest

How much fun it ended up being!  There was a grassroots feel to Southwest that had a galvanizing effect on our community.  Observing the damage on Saturday with Ian Bryant, Project Manager for Disaster Specialists,  I would not have expected faculty and student morale to be as high as it was during the move to Southwest.  I thought we would have to make do but the community was so supportive.  We did not just weather the storm; people came out of it with their spirits lifted.  From the people who brought food to the hard work of all the faculty and Disaster Specialists to the kids responding so positively–everyone saw the best of each other.  

-Paul Marble, Executive Director

That it happened in a new building. There was so much water damage, it looked like a water park.

-Carlos Capo, Maintenance

construction-day-2-082It makes sense now but at the time it was surprising that we would need to be out of school so long and require so much reconstruction because one little valve failed.  Also surprising was how quickly we were able to find a solution and how smooth the process ended up being after the initial uncertainty of what we should do.

Steve DeTora, Assistant Business Manager

The most surprising and remarkable part was how quickly our plan developed. Paul understood that transportation was key so he tried to find the most convenient solution possible in an inconvenient situation. When he told me he had made arrangements to set up temporary classrooms at the Resort and Conference Center for the next two weeks, it felt like we suddenly had a plan. Now the challenge was moving everyone out of West and into the resort. From that point, it seemed like our response developed like clockwork:  here’s what we do when we have a flood.  Using the Resort and Conference Center meant bus routes could continue as always and student routines would be only mildly disrupted. Plus the hotel is a familiar space because Sturgis holds dances and convocations there. It helped make what could have felt like an uncertain move for students and teachers feel safe.

Jenn Kirk and Paul Marble check out classroom space

Jenn Kirk and Paul Marble check out classroom space

Paul’s plan for the faculty workday on Monday with 3 check-in meetings was a brilliant way to structure the day in stages. He gave faculty enough to work with in steps that were comfortable, starting with lesson planning in the morning, moving materials to the hotel after lunch, and planning the advisory meetings, tours and student transitions during the last meeting of the day. Faculty were asked to focus on what they care about most – teaching their kids. The Admin team handled details of creating classrooms, maps, etc. Teachers did not know exactly what the next few days would feel like but they felt reassured there was a structure, and plans in place for classrooms. They would have chairs, tables, and flip charts immediately. Technology would be coming as soon as possible.

Jenn Kirk, Principal, Sturgis West

The most surprising part was how we were able to get the kids back in school at Southwest immediately after the flood. They only missed one day!

-Leighton Robinson, Maintenance

What do you think contributed to West’s ability to create a temporary school at Southwest?  What made it work?

classrooms-day-2-095Keeping the attitude of “this is still school”—we are still going to accomplish what we set out to do, to learn.  Also staying in the mindset to keep the struggles between us as colleagues and to model resilience for students.  Teachers maintained high expectations of students and students saw that we were going to do this and that we were going to make it work.  It brought me back to West the first year; there was a challenge with space, with tech equipment and supplies, and so we went back to the basics of teaching.  I thought: we can do this, we’ve done this before.

      -Jenna Arledge, Nurse

Keeping perspective—we can overcome many challenges—we do every day regardless of our building—we teach kids. If we can do it at Southwest, we can do it anywhere.  We thrive even with regular pressure; we focus on the mission, work as a team, adapt and overcome.

I think it was the way we started at the original West campus.  We were in close quarters without equipment and people learned to be flexible; there was a character and culture to adapt and rise to the occasion.  Also, knowing that people are willing to rally and so willing to help.  Even on the Friday before December break people were so willing to stay and help move out; people just stepped up.

Kathy Power, IT Coordinator

Gina Kelly

Gina Kelly

Perspective helped make people resilient; we focused on students and were open-minded to Southwest.  All teachers had individual concerns and perspectives but shared the positive twist of “it could be worse”.  Teachers modeled handling a crisis situation for students in “making the best of it” and I think there was bonding through sympathy and camaraderie of teachers helping one another.

Jen Walts, English

It’s a Sturgis thing: teachers and students wanted to make it work.  There wasn’t a long period of griping; we realized challenges and knew it would take conscious effort.  People put in the effort so it worked.  People were willing to make it work.

-John Tecklenburg, Environmental Systems and Societies

Teachers adapted curriculum and tests to make it work (using earplugs or headphones to drown out noise) and students helped too (one brought in a whiteboard).  Everyone worked together.  The environment and school culture—we had heard “buildings don’t make schools” before this.  It still felt like Sturgis; the attitude was positive and everyone just went with it.

-Sarah Buchanan, Zachary Raye, and Ella Strano, students at West/Southwest

Tom Wooten

Tom Wooten

We focused on what was most important; no computers, no walls, big deal.  On the Monday after the flood we didn’t know if we would have access to West until it was fixed and Paul said to us “decide what you need to run a school”–we prioritized what mattered most—teaching students.  The Southwest experience was like a working restaurant: in the dining room where guests are sitting it’s calm (hopefully the kids’ experience).  Behind the scenes in the kitchen, for the teachers, it could be chaotic.  Adaptability made it work.  We have it, but we don’t always get a chance to exhibit it.  But wherever teachers were before we were all drawn to Sturgis because it’s different and it does things differently.

-Al Pagenkopf, Mathematics

Sturgis has a history of unorthodox buildings and not everything going 100% to plan 100% of the time.  This makes us resilient and we have a mentality to overcome challenges.  I’m glad to have experienced one of the challenges because it makes me feel more like a part of the community.  You have to be adaptable to work here and stay positive because the focus is on the kids.

-Alex Houpert, Latin

room-cxvi-2The dedication, creativity, teamwork, openness and willingness of our faculty, staff and students to learn and try new things, to be innovative, to be positive, and to see the learning moments within challenges is what made this possible. The culture of Sturgis in its entirety is conducive to a sense of responsibility to one another, a level of maturity and respect within the student body, and a sense of adventure and curiosity.  Also our hosts were very accommodating and flexible, the parents were supportive, and leadership moved with intention and confidence which set the tone for the rest of us.

Katie McIntosh, Counselor

Southwest Bound December 13, 2016

Southwest Bound
December 13, 2016

New endeavors have always been a part of  our 18 year history at Sturgis: from the founding of the school in 1998; to persevering when the school almost closed in 2000; to securing IB authorization in 2004; and to the development of West campus in 2011.  The Sturgis community is used to being able to maintain a clear vision of our mission and values as well as a grassroots spirit of determination during times of challenge and uncertainty.

Visitors to Sturgis often comment on the fact that we don’t have bells or hall passes; we aim for commitment rather than compliance.  I felt that sense of commitment at Southwest.  Kids did not focus on what was so different or jarring about the experience because the Sturgis values of building independence and caring for each other were still in place at Southwest; nothing significant was left behind.  

Paul Marble, Executive Director

Teamwork. Also the fact that the hotel opened their doors to us so our kids could continue learning and go full speed ahead.

-Carlos Capo, Maintenance

I think the fact that there was a structure in place from leadership that put us in the best situation to succeed combined with teachers accommodating and helping each other out.  Everyone contributed and we were able to keep kids safe and maintain the schedule and rhythm of Sturgis.

Steve DeTora, Assistant Business Manager

Afternoon Faculty Meeting and Logistics for Tuesday

Afternoon Faculty Meeting and Logistics for Tuesday

People were incredibly flexible and made the most of some challenging situations. We were fortunate in so many ways: the hotel was within walking distance and available for 2 weeks, winter break was coming in 9 days.

I also think a key factor is that West is a relatively new school. When we started six years ago, there was a great deal of energy and excitement that went into creating this school. The first few years were really hard. We were feeling like we had finally hit our stride before the flood happened. Of course, we could not envision such a shake-up but it seems like we were ready for it. Adapting to challenges and changes seem normal at West.

Jenn Kirk, Principal, Sturgis West

Teamwork made it possible.  Teamwork like this could never happen without great communication.

-Leighton Robinson, Maintenance

What do you think will most stand out to you about the experience in the future?

Jenna Arledge

Jenna Arledge

Realizing that I can pack everything in a desk organizer that I need to do my job; it made me consider that we can live with less stuff!

-Jenna Arledge, Nurse

I wouldn’t want to do it again but I know I could!

Kathy Power, IT Coordinator

If I’m ever asked to share a challenging experience that I overcame as an educator in a job interview or with future colleagues I’ll have one ready!

Jen Walts, English

How well the Sturgis community came together collectively.  If we cooperate we can get something positive out of a tough situation.

-John Tecklenburg, Environmental Systems and Societies

I’ll think about just the fact that it happened and we’re through it.  We learned a lot, one of the things being that it doesn’t take many physical resources to create a school.  I thought I’d seen it all, so I’ll remember this next time I think that way.  We dealt with pressure because we knew that we couldn’t just stop because of the flood.  We learned about problem solving and now I think we appreciate our building more. It was fun, I’d do it again!

-Sarah Buchanan, Zachary Raye, and Ella Strano, students at West/Southwest

I’ll look back and laugh.  But also the fact that I didn’t hear excuses.  As much as it was stressful we didn’t talk about it too much—everyone was conscious that it could have been an issue if we allowed it to.  I was struck by how fast we were able to take bad news and say “this is a challenge, but not an insurmountable challenge, and we accept it.”  We worked together as hard as we worked individually and mutual respect came out fast because we had a “we’re all in this together” mentality.  You only get through a situation like that if everyone cares and respects.  I didn’t hear a lot of “I need this” or “why do they have this and I don’t”.  It was more “what do we need?”  Everybody did their job but everybody else helped each other do theirs.  I got to see how hard everybody works.  I think the experience did more for staff development and collegiality than anything else could have.  Nothing changes camaraderie like an experience like that (and it could go either way!) but it strengthened ours.  The culture of Sturgis—adaptability, teamwork, respect—helped overcome that obstacle.  It’s a reminder that we all teach subjects in a classroom but we all teach kids in a community. It’s my prediction that if asked, as hard as it was, people will say we are a stronger school because of it.

-Al Pagenkopf, Mathematics

construction-day-2-075I’ll think about how cool it was to see the West building transform day by day and how appreciative I am for the disaster crews in putting our school back together.  We made the best of it, pulled together as a community, stayed positive and optimistic, and student learning still took place.

-Alex Houpert, Latin

During those two and a half weeks of working together as a community, I felt personal connections and relationships at West strengthen on a deeper level.  The school community showed resiliency and experienced in a meaningful way that “buildings don’t make schools” and that yes–we can do this–because this is what we do.  We teach kids. Students and teachers were proud to make it work.

Many people are invested in the school and wanted to know how they could help. We greatly appreciate the support of Hyannis Fire Department, Disaster Specialists, Resort and Conference Center, local restaurants, student government ambassadors, Sturgis Parent Association, Jen Strano, Bob Brodeur…the list goes on and on.

So many people doing extraordinary work who did not care about getting credit is what made this work.  

Thank you all.

Paul Marble, Executive Director

It was a challenge but at the end of the day, what I’ll remember most is that there is nothing we can’t handle. I love my job and I love this school. I am here anytime you need me.  P.S. I’m the man.

-Carlos Capo, Maintenance

It was the most interesting, hectic, work day (work Saturday) of my life!  No one expects that from your job so I don’t know that I’ll ever top that.  I hope it never happens again but it’s Sturgis, we do this stuff.  It was kind of fun being able to see people at work in new ways.  There were so many moving pieces that it wound up being a good learning experience.

Steve DeTora, Assistant Business Manager

Ella Strano

Ella Strano

One thing I’ll always remember is seeing Ella Strano on Tuesday wearing the Smooth Seas Don’t Make a Skilled Sailor t-shirt. Ella’s mother Jen Strano created the graphic design. I liked it so much I asked to take Ella’s picture. The design was such a creative and positive response to the flood;  a logo for Southwest was born. We asked Jen’s  permission to use the logo to print surprise bookmarks for the students which they received before winter break.

Another thing I’ll remember happened on the afternoon of the first day at Southwest. I saw how everyone had settled in and I could hear the hum of school in session. It was so neat to walk into a room and see 8 classes on different subjects being taught in the same room.

Jenn Kirk, Principal, Sturgis West

I’ll always remember how great the kids are here.  They are really awesome. I always look forward to coming to work with such amazing people.

-Leighton Robinson, Maintenance

Ian Bryant, Project Manager, Disaster Specialists

Disaster Specialists Team

Disaster Specialists Team  – January 2, 2017

How did this project compare with other disasters you have handled?

Most of our work is residential. We handle 100 – 200 residential disasters to each commercial disaster. Although we have worked on school projects before, most of our commercial jobs are office or apartment buildings.

What were the most challenging and difficult parts of the project for you and your staff?

Winter pipe breaks are common but you usually do not see such a large space affected. Approximately 12,000 gallons of water damaged 11,000 square feet of walls and flooring. Clean Harbors pumped 1,864 gallons out of the elevator shaft alone.  It was challenging to dry the building.  We ran many forms of drying equipment: 112 fans, dehumidifiers and negative air machines.

In addition, the short time frame was extremely challenging especially because of the holidays.  The goal was to have West repaired and ready to reopen on January 3. Given the scope of the damage, we had to order and install new building materials at a time when many suppliers are on vacation. Trying to get supplies on such short notice during the holidays was difficult.

construction-day-2-098In terms of staffing, 80% of our staff was involved and put in a ton of overtime. Some of us who normally wear project manager and estimator hats pitched in to help paint, clean windows and empty trash.

Meanwhile we had a number of residential disasters to handle at the same time so I wasn’t overly optimistic that we would be able to meet the January 3 deadline.

Was there a silver lining or any positive outcomes or benefits of this project?

It was rare to have so many of our staff involved in one project. We normally have smaller crews so it was great to have a chance for so many of us to work together.  It was a team effort and everyone was committed to get the kids back in their school.  We wrapped up the job on Monday, January 2 at 4:30 PM.

I’d like to add we had assistance from the following contractors: Clean Harbors, Paul Peterson Electrical, Robinson Flooring and S & A Drywall.

Leeanne Moulthrop, Manager, Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis

Resort and Conference Center Staff (l-r) Leeanne Moulthrop, Johnny Tromp, Jennifer Palazzolo and Andrea Kaner

Resort and Conference Center Staff
(l-r) Leeanne Moulthrop, Johnny Tromp, Jennifer Palazzolo and Andrea Kaner

What was the most challenging and difficult part of providing temporary space for Sturgis West for you and your colleagues?

“Conferences at the resort are often booked months or even years in advance. When Paul Marble came to the Resort on Saturday, December 10 to inquire if it might be possible for Sturgis West to use the space until winter break on December 24, a two week window of opportunity was available so the timing was perfect. It would not have worked the week before or the week afterward. I was really impressed that Paul thought out of the box. Most schools would probably have closed for two weeks.

The most challenging part was trying to deal with a quick, last minute set-up of classrooms for 400 students at a time of the year when we are typically short staffed. We are used to flipping space but we usually have a lot more staff on hand. The Sturgis booking was finalized on Sunday afternoon. On Monday at 6:00 AM, seven employees came to set up the classrooms.  I walked through the classrooms with Paul Marble and Jenn Kirk on Monday to make sure they worked for them and met fire and building regulations. On Monday afternoon, teachers started moving materials into their classrooms. Signs and maps were provided. It seemed very organized. At the end of the day, Paul asked, ‘Are you ready for us?’  I laughed and said, this is nothing compared to the Massachusetts Association  of Student Councils (MASC) with 1,200 students. We are used to dealing with kids.

On Tuesday morning, the students arrived. During the day, teachers conducted walk-through tours and fire drills. Students learned which areas were off limit such as the pool and game room. Teachers were always available and the kids were wonderful – just great.  After Tuesday, things settled down. The fire and building inspections were done and everyone got in a groove. The kids seemed to go with the flow. Some of them said they liked having a change of scenery and a mini vacation. Several of our staff commented on how well behaved the students were.

One morning, I asked one of the hotel staff if Paul was on campus. He said, ‘So, we are a campus now?’

I guess we all adapted to being part of the school.

How did providing temporary space for Sturgis West compare with other emergencies you have handled?

When the Cape has a major storm, we provide rooms and meals for emergency crews from Eversource and NStar. Sometimes every room in the hotel is filled with storm crews.  It is challenging but it makes our business fun and interesting. Every day is different. You never know what we’re going to face next. It’s just part of the business.”

3. Photos of Flood Damage, Demolition and Reconstruction

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4. Southwest Timeline

Sunday 12/11/17 Paul Marble informs Sturgis faculty about the flood via email

Dear colleagues,

Early Saturday morning, an irrigation pipe exploded in the student kitchen at West. Thankfully, Truc was at school and quickly informed Jenn Kirk; as a result, Steve DeTora, Kathy, Leighton, Carlos, the Hyannis Fire Department and a Disaster Specialist Team combined to prevent catastrophic damage. Hyannis Fire Department and a Disaster Specialist Team devoted approximately eight hours to removing the water from the building. The main areas of concern are the student kitchen, atrium, basement, elevator/elevator shaft, and the first floor wing from the library to the music room.

Today, no workers are in the building, but a large amount of fans and dehumidifiers are running in order to help extract as much water as possible from the air and building materials. The Disaster Specialist Team will return tomorrow to begin the process of removing wet drywall and flooring materials. At this point, we do not know when we will be able to resume classes in the Sturgis West school building. Cleanup, reconstruction and inspections may require us to find alternative accommodations for the foreseeable future, perhaps for the next two weeks.

As a result, classes for both Sturgis East and Sturgis West are cancelled on Monday, December 12th.

Jim Albrecht and I have been working since yesterday to procure temporary accommodations for Sturgis West. By tomorrow, we hope to have finalized those arrangements. Jim, Jenn, Patrick and I would like to plan for classes to resume at both campuses on Tuesday, December 13th (starting with D block). As a result, we ask that West faculty arrive at West tomorrow (Monday) morning at 9:00 for a faculty meeting in the Theatre Room. At that time, we will have further information and we can as a community devote the school day to preparing for our temporary move.

A note to East faculty: at this time, I do not think that your assistance is needed at Sturgis West tomorrow.

While the accident appears to have caused significant damage and will require no small amount of creativity and ingenuity on the part of our faculty and students, we are fortunate that the aforementioned community members responded as quickly and fully as they did. If not for the people mentioned in the first paragraph, we likely would have been facing a catastrophic loss.

Thank you all for your flexibility.

Paul Marble

After receiving the news on Sunday, many teachers wondered where 400 students and 65 staff members could be temporarily relocated without interrupting class time and transportation arrangements for students who travel to Sturgis from every town on the Cape and several towns off-Cape.

Monday morning 12/12/16  West Faculty Meeting

Paul Marble explains the level of damage created by the flood

Paul Marble explains the extent of damage created by the flood

When West faculty met at the flooded West campus on Monday morning, Paul Marble calmly explained the extent of the damage and revealed a plan to move the school temporarily one block away to the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis. To create classroom space and move necessary textbooks, computers, AV equipment is no easy feat –  especially when the plan is to have the school ready to go in less than 24 hours!

West faculty react to news

West faculty react to news

Faculty Meeting Agenda

    • Explanation of Saturday’s Flood
    • Current Building Assessment
    • Thankful
      • No one harmed
      • Quick and great work by Truc Bui/ Steve DeTora/ Jenn Kirk /Carlos Capo /Leighton Robinson/ Hyannis Fire Department/ Disaster Specialists
      • Availability of Resort and Conference Center
      • Key quote: Buildings don’t make schools; people make schools. It’s the relationships that we have with our students that make all the difference.

    • Tentative Plan Going Forward
      • Our building for the next 9 days will be the Resort + Conference Center
      • We’ll learn more in coming days about extent of damage – potential need (or not) for accommodations after break
    • Duke to the rescue!

      Duke to the rescue!

      Goals for This Morning

      • Preparing lessons for next 9 days
      • Without labs and with Spartan resources
      • For those who have affected areas:
        • Inventory Damage
    • Meet again at 12:00 with update
      • Hope to have a map of Resort + Conference Center for you at that time
      • Will then be able to begin to move materials / prep your new room
    • 3:00 Faculty Meeting
      • Logistics for Tomorrow
        • (Start with brief advisory for logistics/maps/schedules)

An Opportunity to Demonstrate Resiliency

At the close of  faculty meeting, Paul Marble read an email he received from a West faculty member on Sunday:

I just wanted to reach out and say I got choked up reading your email about what happened at our beautiful school, and if there is any way I can help I will gladly volunteer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is any way I can be of assistance with any aspect of working through this challenge. I know somehow the Sturgis Family will continue to prove “it’s not about the building,” perhaps in an even more meaningful sense, and will find creative ways to continue to educate our kids until this is resolved. It is an opportunity to demonstrate resiliency! If there is any Team that can do it, it is this one.

The challenge of demonstrating resiliency and proving the Sturgis belief that “buildings don’t make schools – people do,” proved highly motivational. Sturgis encourages a spirit of collaboration across disciplines to create an inclusive environment and in this case – to solve problems. So it seemed only natural for teams to be formed to work out all the details of moving a school in one day such as: logistics of moving and setting up technology; designing classroom space and creating a map; creating a schedule for the first day; plans for students to retrieve belongings in lockers; expectations for students to respect hotel space; plans for fire drills at the hotel…

From the beginning of the disaster, Paul Marble exhibited leadership in his belief that Sturgis West could meet the challenge by collaborating to design a plan and work together. His can-do attitude in the face of adversity had a contagious and sporting effect. The hotel quickly became known as “Sturgis Southwest” and both faculty and students embraced the challenge with spirit and humor.   To learn more about Paul Marble’s plan and delegation of responsibilities, see: Sturgis team approach to navigating a flood

Monday afternoon 12/12/16   West faculty move to Southwest

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Tuesday morning 12/13/16   West students head to Southwest;  FB Post – Sturgis “Southwest” did not miss a beat today

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Friday 12/23/16 Pack up and return to West Campus in time for Winter Break 12/24 – 1/2

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Monday 1/2/17 Final Repairs

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Tuesday 1/3/17 FB Post:  Life returns to normal at Sturgis. Welcome back everyone!

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5. Southwest Document Resources

12/13/16 Cape Cod Times  Hotel hosts Sturgis students displaced by flooding

Email and Facebook Communications Regarding Sturgis West Flood 12/11/16 – 1/3/17

Map of Sturgis Southwest

Schedule for First Day at Southwest

Sturgis Team Approach to Navigating a Flood

 

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