Ice dams cause flooding and close Orchard Farms school today

Students at Orchard Farms Elementary School in Cranston got another day off Monday after flooding from rooftop ice dams spilled water into several classrooms over the weekend .

Superintendent Judith Lundsten said in an interview that she didn’t feel comfortable sending children to school today after examining the damage over the weekend.

Clean Care teams, along with school staff, are busy cleaning up broken tiles, waterlogged insulation and making lists of what was damaged after water entered the ceiling and the walls, Lundsten said.

Lundsten said she received a phone call around lunchtime for a report of a water leak through the ceiling. It wasn’t long before she, her husband, and others spent Sunday afternoon covering teacher supplies and classroom items with plastic bags in an effort to avoid even more damage.

“We covered things with tarps, equipment, materials for teachers,” Lundsten said. “The teachers rely on these materials, so we wanted to be respectful of that.”

The building is safe, but the not-so-clean condition of the building on Sunday night led Lundsten to request the cancellation on Monday, she said, and she wanted to thank the families for their understanding and limitless patience.

“I know this confuses parents who have to manage daycare,” and other issues, said the superintendent.

In some classrooms, water had run through the ceiling, soaking up the insulation and ceiling tiles. In some places, the ceiling tiles expanded and broke, falling into the classroom below.

Lundsten said the district will file an insurance claim to cover the cost of the damage.

Lundsten said the crews had been watching the roof for over three weeks and cleared the snow, but “the ice dams were unlike anything I’ve seen before.”

The school should be open to students tomorrow.

Rebecca W. King

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