A fire sprinkler at George Washington Middle School mysteriously activated Sunday Jan. 8 around 3:30 p.m., damaging a custodial office and ruining the wood floor in the school’s smaller gymnasium. 

The weekend timing caused the incident to go unnoticed longer than if school was in session but the fire department, which receives a notification once the sprinkler system is activated, was quick to respond, according to Superintendent Carol Baker. She estimated repairs to the 3,750-square foot gym will cost around $250,000 but added the school’s insurance policy will cover the bill entirely. 

“Within 24 hours the floor was warped,” Baker said. “Unfortunately, you can’t replace half a gym floor.” 

Tyco SimplexGrinnel, the fire sprinkler company, sent employees to inspect the school’s sprinklers last week. They were unable to determine the cause but told school officials they didn’t expect any more issues. 

Baker said a replacement floor, as well as some repairs to the subfloor, should be finished within the next few weeks and, for now, the school is making the best of the reduced space by reworking class locations. George Washington also has a large gym and big events, such as basketball games, which will not be interrupted. 

“It affects our kids a little bit,” Baker said of the repairs. “We have to crunch some classes down a bit.” 

Installation of the new subfloor will take place over a weekend to avoid disrupting classes as much as possible. 

No damage to the sprinkler was found and no fire or smoke was reported. 

“This is why school districts carry insurance policies,” Baker said.