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Donations uplift Prairie View Elementary after frozen pipes burst, flood classrooms

Ten classrooms were impacted, mostly fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. — Prairie View Elementary in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri was a victim of Mother Nature's bitterly cold temperatures on Christmas Eve.

There were three water leaks in the school, but the biggest one was a result from a frozen sprinkler system bursting. 

Ten classrooms were impacted, mostly fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

The source of the damage was in a classroom at the end of the hall. 

5 On Your Side was told the financial loss of items was thousands of dollars.

Everything was ruined and the rushing waters crept into adjacent rooms.

"When it goes off, it sprayed everywhere. It was gallons and gallons of water. Water was up to our ankles," Principal Theresa McCulloch said.

But the fast waters were met by swift staff members.

Soon, all the damp items were bagged to prevent molding. 

Credit: KSDK

Wentzville School District Superintendent Dr. Danielle Tormala said on Christmas Eve, they had a crew of people who stepped up to help with water issues. 

"As soon as we put out the call for help, teachers started arriving, custodians were coming. Soon, I saw more and more people," Dr. Tormala said.  

Fifth grade teacher Candise White said she immediately became worried when she heard the news. 

"I have hundreds of dollars of stuff in this classroom that I purchased myself. We put a lot of love effort and money in our classroom," she said. She, too, acted fast.

"I got all the family together and worked as hard to get desks back together and cleaned...tried and get things as normal as they could to not interrupt any educational time," White said. 

Last week, a restoration company worked to repair any damage left behind.

One fifth grade classroom has been temporarily relocated, while additional repairs are made. The class will return to the original room when all repairs are done. 

McCulloch said she believes things should get back to normal in two weeks.

5 On Your Side found out that quick actions were able to fix almost every single room, just in time for the first day back to school on Tuesday.

School officials said they could not do it without the help of the community.

"I put out a wish list and in 10 minutes everything that was destroyed had been replaced," White said.

We found out during our interviews that the school's PTA started raising funds to replace items. Even an anonymous group of parents donated a $800 check. 

We also found out that while the cold temperatures caused disruption, it's the warmth from the community that's been uplifting.

"We couldn’t open school for these students here at Prairie View the way we did without interruption in service without their help," Dr. Tormala said.

If you'd like to help or donate, you can head to the school's PTA Facebook Page here.

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