Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Water running from school swamps yards of residents

In-ground swimming pool in path of muddy stream

August 30, 2006

For the past several weeks, city council member Ron Cranor warily watched work at Tonganoxie Middle School.

Cranor, who lives just west of the new school, said he and his neighbors were concerned that grading and construction could cause problems with water runoff during rains. He even called Kris Roberts, project coordinator, who assured Cranor the situation was under control.

Apparently, on Sunday, things went out of control.

As rain fell, Cranor and two families whose property borders the northwest corner of the middle school property, watched as a stream of water poured off the property. The homes are just south of the intersection of Pleasant and Washington streets.

Water ran through Robin Jones' back yard, while mud and water poured into Jerry Gambrill's in-ground swimming pool.

"It turned into browny-looking water, Cranor said. "That pool was built in 1975, and he's never had a problem with it. You know it all has to do with the way they engineered and laid out that property at that school."

School Superintendent Richard Erickson, who viewed both the properties on Sunday, said school officials are discussing what to do.

"We're visiting right now with our architect and construction manager to see what we can do to eliminate that situation," he said. "It was a test this weekend, with five inches of rain in a short period of time."

He said he anticipated a decision would be made soon.

"We certainly want to do what is right and fair with those landowners, and we certainly don't want there to be any (future) overflow," he said.

Erickson said construction officials had hoped a swale would channel water away from the neighborhood.

"That was a lot of water in a short period of time," he said. "What made it difficult, too, was we don't have any grass, so you had all of that mud. At least the mud issue will ease with the planting of grass and some landscaping."

Cranor said the district and its construction management team needs to solve the problem before an even heavier rain falls.

"We had, over the whole weekend, five or six inches of water," he said. "If we had had a gully washer -- three or four inches all at the same time -- who knows what we would have had."

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