KEARNEY — Despite being close to overflowing waterways and rising floodwaters, Kearney’s public schools were spared during Tuesday’s catastrophe.
“It’s devastating, catastrophic in some areas of our community,” Kearney Public Schools Superintendent Kent Edwards said of the flood. “But no school structures were affected by it. We were very fortunate, while some others weren’t.”
Kearney High School, Kenwood Elementary, Bryant Elementary and Glenwood Elementary were all close to areas that got flooded but escaped the damage.
Several years ago, before the new KHS was built at 2702 W. 11th St., some voiced concerns about how close the structure was to a floodplain. According to Hub reports in 2013, 65 acres of the 128 acres of the high school site are in a 100-year floodplain and eight acres are in a 500-year floodplain. However, KPS did not build any structures in the floodplains.
Some water did come up to the edge of KHS’s south parking lot, and some groundwater entered through the divisions in the concrete of the lot but the parking lot was not damaged, said Edwards.
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Nothing was damaged in the KHS building, either.
“Obviously, the first thing I did that morning when I woke up, I went to Kearney High thinking, ‘Oh my, we could have a situation here,’ but we were good,” Edwards said.
He also said he had been anxious about Kenwood Elementary, located at 915 16th Ave., near the Kearney Canal and Yanney Park, which still was closed Wednesday due to flooding. However, he said there were not “any water issues there what-so-ever.”
Two other schools were close, but spared. Bryant Elementary, 1611 C Ave., was only a few blocks away from where water crept up into the streets of south Kearney. North of Kearney, near the Wood River, Glenwood Elementary, 8105 Ninth Ave., also escaped water.
Edwards did say KPS had to vacate a facilities building in south Kearney, 417 E. Sixth St., because “we couldn’t get in and out.” The building also lost power Wednesday morning around 11.
However, that was the extent of the effect the flood had on KPS buildings.
With so much damage close by KPS buildings, Edwards said the district was lucky.
“I don’t have an explanation (for why KPS wasn’t hit), but as I said, we’re just very fortunate given some of the other areas nearby that did,” Edwards said.