Local News

Water line break at D-11 stems from bigger issue

District 11 Water Line Break

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - "It's serious when you have to close school and not have kids in school," said Kris Garnhart, Director of Facilities at District 11.

"We've frozen pay, we've cut positions, we've had to defer maintenance on things and we're getting behind and it's nearing a crises point," said Glenn Gustafson, District 11's chief financial officer.

The average age of a District 11 school building is 50 years.

West Elementary and Middle School is almost twice as old.

"Contrary to the snow on the ground, this is not a break related to cold weather. This break is an old line," said Gustafson.

A large hole is the site of what used to be a playground. Crews had to dig to get to the water line. District officials said this is just one example of the challenges the district faces. In fact, according to Gustafson, it needs one $100 million just to fix problems that already exist in the schools.

"That's not improvements like air condition, new gymnasiums or anything like that. Just the nuts and bolts the things that most people never see in the district," said Gustafson.

Colorado schools have seen a 16% cut in funding.

Many say it's a cut you can see.

"We're starting to see more and more of these things every year and it's getting bigger and bigger. Without funding it's going to be a real challenge. The schools are the heart of the neighborhood. iI graduated from District 11 and it makes me sad to see these taxpayers assets start to deteriorate like this," said Gustafson.

Crews tell us they expect to have the pipe fixed by Thursday morning, but won't know until they have a better idea of the size of the break in the water line.

As it happens, a district work session is scheduled for Wednesday night to discuss these issues.

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