Totslands recovering from $125,000 in water damage

Published 1:40 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Water poured down the hall, into classrooms and throughout the kitchen at Totsland Preschool and Nursery in Belhaven during the last week of 2022. There was an estimated 400 gallons awaiting Totsland Director Verna Whitley at the beginning of 2023. 

“We don’t know how long that water had been running,” Verna said, but knew it happened sometime during that week. 

A pipe burst from the ceiling and onto a freezer in the kitchen, Whitley explained. Her water bill last month was $5,909.93. She thought the water ruined a freezer containing childrens’ breakfast items; however, no damage was done to it. The same could not be said for the hallway and classrooms. 

Every baseboard had to be replaced in addition to lower cabinets and some of the lighting. Everything in the infant room was “totally destroyed,” Whitley said. “All of the furniture was destroyed.” 

The estimated cost to repair the damages is over $125,000, Whitley shared. This does not include the purchase of new classroom furniture. 

Not only that, but most toys and books had to be thrown away because it had either mold or mildew on it. What could be spared has sat outside underneath the preschool’s covered porch. Whitley is concerned about possible mold and mildew that could have grown in more than a month. Replacing toys and books will be an added expense. 

Whitley hopes her insurance company will cover all repair costs. “I think my biggest loss is going to be revenue from the children,” Whitley said. She is also paying staff while the preschool and nursery is closed.