Wash away the water

Lauren Reno, Reporter

Flooding is a large concern at Orcutt Academy High School, and it seems the campus is long overdue for a new drainage system.

As the rainy season pours over the Santa Maria Valley, flooding is a large concern on Orcutt Academy’s campus. It is well known that the campus has a drainage problem. The flooding is mostly seen on the blacktop area, outside teachers’ classrooms, and the bench areas. It causes crowded hallways as students try to walk around portions of the sidewalk to avoid the large pockets of water.  It is also a huge safety hazard. Flooding causes slippery areas such as puddles and mud baths in the greenery and walkways.  Stepping on these areas can potentially cause injury and is a potential lawsuit against the school. Adding a better drainage system would be the most beneficial way that Orcutt Academy can create a safer environment for its students, teachers, and staff.  The flooding concern at OA should be our top priority as a safe campus.

The flooding is also an annoyance on campus. It tracks mud into classrooms and causes crowded hallways. For student athletes who have to practice in this weather, it can be one of the worst parts of the season.

Riley Speer, one of Orcutt Academy’s cheerleaders, explains the flooding is “another factor that the team has to work through when they have limited resources.” According to the school administration, 90% of Orcutt Academy students are part of extracurricular activities: such as sports and clubs. Sports teams that have to practice in the floods (football, cross country, track, etc.) must be cautious for hazards that the water causes. Including a drainage system would be the safest option for students, teachers, and staff.

The drainage systems are located around the field, walkways, and flowerbeds. They cannot hold the massive amount of collected rain water, resulting in the campus to flood even after it rains. It causes further damage to these areas which is more costly and unsafe than facing the issue. It should be one of the school’s priorities towards fixing this issue as soon as possible.

The floods are caused by excessive rain and poor drainage systems that unsuccessfully clear the water. They fill up the flowerbeds outside classrooms (specifically those of Fredrick’s, Pacheco, and Graunke), hallways, and the main blacktop, causing hazardous and damaged areas. According to Restoration Local, a regional water company, the average cost of home water damage is about $2,700, ranging from $400 to $7,500. Considering the size of the school campus, fixing water damage would be more than 4x the cost. However, according to Home Advisor, the cost for a new drainage system can be as low as $800. It would be the most favorable solution to the flooding problem. It is inexpensive and durable.

The Orcutt Union School District, which is in control of budget and finance, needs to discuss the advantages of implicating an improved water drainage system around the campus. It would be better to add a new one when there is no one on campus. Easter break or summer would be best, but any available time should be used to organize the system. As for concerned students and staff, it should be to stress the situation and the need for a solution.  Improving the school’s drainage systems on campus would lower the risk of accidents and refine the quality of the campus.