MASE Charter School Suffers Heavy Water Damage From Burst Pipes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) — A Memphis charter school is picking up the pieces Wednesday night after winter storms caused potentially multimillion-dollar damage.

Officials at the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE) on Jefferson Avenue said they found several broken pipes in one of their school buildings on Christmas Day.

The Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering suffered EXTENSIVE damage due to burst pipes discovered on Christmas Day. The Executive Director took @WMCActionNews5 on tour today to show us the damage. I’ll have more tonight at 10 p.m.

— Bria Bolden (@boldenbria) December 29, 2022

The chief executive says around 600 children attend the school and around half will be affected.

“I kind of looked out the windows of the school and was terrified of the damage I had seen,” chief executive Rod Gaston said.

Gaston took Action News 5 on a tour of the damage caused by last week’s winter storm.

“About 95% of the ceiling tiles fell to the floor,” Gaston said. “There is significant water damage. There is still water flowing as we speak.

He says pipes burst inside the building that houses the main office, seventh and eighth grade classrooms, as well as some high school classrooms.

College principal Danielle Powell has been teaching at MASE for several years and didn’t believe the extent of the damage until she saw it for herself.

“I walked through the door, so I thought it was no big deal, and then I walked up to my classrooms and I was just devastated,” Powell said. “Seeing the water… I really cried and thought about all those years spent here. I’ve never seen this building like this, and I thought of my babies and my teachers, so I was just devastated.

Cleanup crews continue to remove debris and water from the building.

Gaston thinks the damages could total millions of dollars, including the cost of tech replacements and more, but he also says the district has supported them along the way, especially the MSCS board chair. , Althea Greene, and Acting Superintendent Toni Williams.

“Our goal is to go back to school next Tuesday,” Gaston said. “Our motto here at MASE is ‘The best is our standard’, so every day we give our best… so we’re going to make the best of a bad situation right now.”

Gaston says temporary classrooms will be set up across the street at Northwest Prep Academy.

Students return to school on January 3.

Action News 5 has contacted the MSCS on several occasions to ask if any other school buildings suffered weather-related damage.

They told us that assessments were ongoing and sent this statement below:

“We are grateful that our dedicated field and maintenance crews assessed, repaired and monitored our school buildings following the recent deep freeze. We look forward to welcoming our students to school on January 3rd.

If you would like to help MASE replace technology, school supplies, textbooks, etc., you can contact the school here.

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