On Christmas Eve, Dennis building engineer Brad Ward made a troubling discovery during a routine building check.
"We had an inch of water, the carpet had come loose from the floor, had been floating. Downstairs, same thing, lots of water."
A hot water line break flooded two Dennis training rooms on separate floors. The water damaged ceiling tiles, and sprung district custodians to clean up the mess while the rest of the world was wrapping gifts.
"We do come in and show up on situations like that, and not many people would leave their family on Christmas Eve, so I think it's dedication," Ward said.
The water damage soaked through ceiling tiles and asbestos fibers. But since Ward caught the problem during the building check, an emergency asbestos removal project started, and was contained, sooner, long before kids returned from holiday break.
"Luckily in this instance, they were wet and that minimizes the asbestos containment. We wanted to get the leak stopped and prevent the tiles from dropping," board architect Richard Nelson said.
On Monday, crews installed new ceiling tiles, and the Illinois Department of Public Health successfully tested the rooms air quality. With the Rockford school district considering firing the current custodians to save money, Ward hopes board members will recognize their importance inside and out area schools.
"It's tough to keep the family going. We all like the kids and the staff. It all comes down to being dedicated," Ward said.