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Crash at BDMS

A car crashed into the Beaver Dam Middle School late Wednesday evening.

Beaver Dam Unified School District is estimating damage to Beaver Dam Middle School, 104 Fourth St., to be over $100,000 after a 22-year-old man crashed into the building Wednesday night following a police chase.

“The district continues to be very appreciative of the response and care from our emergency responders,” Superintendent Mark DiStefano said. “Although this whole situation is very unfortunate, in true Beaver Dam fashion, we will come together and put the necessary solutions in place so we can be sure our staff and students have a positive start to the school year.”

Mark DiStefano mug

DiStefano 

At this point, DiStefano said that they are not anticipating that the immediate repairs needed will affect the start of school on Sept. 3.

He anticipates the building will be usable by Monday, but said it is closed until the middle school has full power and can filter and clean the air to assure a safe environment for students and staff.

Beaver Dam Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 800 block of North Center Street on Wednesday at 11:15 p.m. A 22-year-old man left the scene, but the car the man was driving was located at 11:40 p.m. The driver fled at a high rate of speed, eventually traveling south on Grove Street.

The vehicle left the road and struck the north wall of the Beaver Dam Middle School, near the T-intersection of West Mackie and Grove streets. The collision caused structural damage to the building as well as damage to the electrical and water utilities.

A fire caused by the crash was extinguished by the Beaver Dam Fire Department.

Prior to making contact with the exterior wall of the building, the vehicle struck an electrical transformer that feeds power to a large portion of the building, according to a press release from the Beaver Dam Unified School District. In addition to the damage caused by the impact of the crash, there is additional damage from the fire.

There is water damage in some areas as a result of extinguishing the fire and there may be some smoke damage.

Beaver Dam Middle School damage

A worker cleans up a crash site at Beaver Dam Middle School. School officials estimate damage to the school at more than $100,000 after a man crashed into the building Wednesday night. Events at the school are cancelled for the next several days until damage assessment and clean up can take place.

District building ground staff removed oil Thursday that spilled from the electrical transformer struck Wednesday night. DiStefano said the oil was being removed because it would contaminate the ground.

A specialized mitigation and remediation team is assisting with clean-up and containment. Additional contractors and partners will be brought in to assess the situation.

The additional work being done inside the buidling includes cleaning up the floors and using air dehumidifiers to clean the smoke out of the air, DiStefano said. A professional contractor who specializes in similar situations has been called in for repairs and air quality testing.

“Smoke rises, of course, so when dealing with a three-story building it is really important to bring in the professionals,” DiStefano said. “We want to make sure everything is safe for our staff and the kids. We are optimistic that it will be safe and functional and staff will return at the beginning of next week.”

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There will be repairs to the building after students return, DiStefano said, but the primary concern right now is to assure a safe environment for students returning to the building.

“We will do the other work as soon as we can, but not every nail will be in and everything will not be taken care of over the next four days,” DiStefano said.

There were no actual classrooms damaged, but DiStefano said the large gym, called “The Pond,” sustained a lot of moisture damage.

“As a result, we will have to replace the entire gym floor,” DiStefano said. “The $100,000 is a conservative estimate. It will get more firm as we find out more about the damage in the building.”

During initial assessment, DiStefano said they have found:

  • Damage to the exterior brick
  • Damage to the interior cinder block
  • Damage to windows
  • Damage to the school’s roof
  • Damage to the floor in the adjacent hallways
  • Damage to the ceiling and paint in the adjacent hallway
  • Damage to the dust collection system for the tech ed department
  • Damage to the gym floor and doors adjacent to the crash site

“This is just the initial assessment,” DiStefano said. “It is likely that there will be some smoke damage that can’t be remedied. We may have to replace furniture and ceiling tiles.”

The district is insured for situations like this, DiStefano said.

DiStefano said the position the district wants to be in at this time though is doing the final touches to the district buildings before the students take their seats.

“We have a couple of weeks at the end of summer to fix a gaping hole,” DiStefano said.

The good news, DiStefano said is the district’s building and grounds crew are in a good spot with the districts other buildings ready so they can focus efforts on the middle school.

Beaver Dam Middle School postponed a sixth grade open house scheduled for Thursday night. All events scheduled at the middle school for Thursday have been either moved, rescheduled or postponed.

DiStefano said that it is the second open house and it will be rescheduled, but no date has been set. Besides that event, some professional development for staff was moved to other district buildings.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

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