Water disruption causes unusual day at elementary school

WINTON -- Broken pipes at Frank Sparkes Elementary School cut off the water supply to students and faculty all day Monday, officials said.

The 400 students and 40 employees were given bottled water to drink and walked next door to Winton Middle School to use the bathrooms, said Linda Thompson, Winton School District's director of fiscal services.

The broken pipes were below ground and found outside the cafeteria about 7 a.m., she said. Repair crews were working to fix the 1960s-era plumbing and expected to have the water flowing by today.

Principal Marilyn Fauerbach said the crews had to go to Modesto to get a certain kind of repair kit for the pipes because they're decades old.

The cafeteria was still able to prepare lunch with pre-packaged food, such as burritos. A supervisor monitored kids who needed to go to the bathroom at the middle school. Many of the students' parents work and aren't at home, so administrators decided to keep school in session as usual.

Reporter Scott Jason can be reached at 209-385-2453 or sjason@mercedsun-star.com.