Drainage work under way

Published 8:29 pm Saturday, July 21, 2012

An ongoing project at Northeast Elementary School near Belhaven should correct drainage problems at the school. (WDN Photo/Sara Cowell)

Contributing Writer
A long-awaited project to improve drainage at Northeast Elementary School is under way and expected to be completed by the opening of the 2012-2013 school year in late August.
The project is designed to alleviate problems caused by surface water and groundwater that have affected the school for several years, according to Sarah Hodges, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools.
Areas around the main building of school are being regraded to allow surface water to flow more quickly away from the main building.
Underground pipes are being installed to intercept ground water and drain it away from the building into drainage ditches at the front of the school.
Installation of the pipes is “essential to prevent water from infiltrating into the school through the outside walls,” Hodges said.
The project has been under review by school and county leaders for more than two years as the school board and county Board of Commissioners discussed how to best handle the drainage problems that have plagued the school since its opening several years ago.
Most recently, groundwater and surface water accumulation have caused problems with the flooring in the school’s gymnasium, leading school officials to move soil away from that portion of the building to allow water to drain.
School leaders and county leaders earlier this year approved the project at a cost of about $195,000, including contingencies, and awarded the work to B. E. Singleton and Sons Inc. of Washington.
That amount is a significant savings over the original cost of a drainage project at the school that was expected to cost about $300,000. That project included an extensive system of pipes and drains surrounding the school.
After extensive review, county leaders and school leaders, along with consulting engineers, developed a plan for solving the drainage issues at the school at a reduced cost.
In a press release announcing the work, Hodges advised people who need to visit the main campus to be careful as they enter or leave the parking areas of the school.
“The district advises all individuals to stay away from the construction areas and to utilize the designated areas for entering and exiting the school through the primary main entrance or the alternate entrance when needed through the school bus parking lot,” Hodges said.