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Update: Plamondon school closed to start the week

School officials to find alternative space to continue classes after massive building flood

École Plamondon School remained closed to start the week as recovery plans were still being discussed following extensive flooding that occurred at the K-12 school late last week.  

Students and staff at the Northern Lights Public school in Plamondon found themselves having an abrupt end to the school day last Thursday as a massive flood broke out in the building that also houses the Plamondon community library. 

Water rushed through the building, in some places pushing waves as high as two feet carrying papers, books and chairs through the hallways.  

On Friday, Nicole Garner, the Northern Lights Public Schools spokesperson said the flooding began just before the end of the school day, around 3pm. She said students were quickly evacuated from the school and left the school property. 

Getting out of the school proved to be a unique challenge for many, as hallways filled with water and floating debris. One classroom even filled with water until the room’s door broke from the pressure and sent waves of water crashing through the hallways. 

Lori Beniuk, who was at École Plamondon on Thursday as the coordinator of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program, couldn’t believe what she was seeing.  She shot several video clips, showing water rushing through hallways. She also saw a room believed to be the school's art class filling up with so much water that the door eventually smashed open. She said the way the water had been gushing into the room; it was very likely a major water main break.  

Utility crews arrived onsite soon after the incident occurred to drain the building and stop the flow, says Garner. 

Students had Friday off as repairs and assessments of the damage began, with division officials saying Friday morning there is no standing water at the school as the investigation began. 

“School was cancelled today while repairs are underway, and our facilities team works on assessing damage and cleaning up,” Garner told Lakeland This Week on Friday, adding that updates would be sent to parents and community members in the days to follow. 

Over the weekend, Garner said that division and school officials have been working to find alternative locations to continue classes while repairs take place at the school.  

“We are currently in the process of confirming what locations are available, ensuring they have the necessary resources for our students, and making arrangements for transportation,” said a statement that was issued by the NLPS communications department over the weekend. 

According to the update, classes were cancelled on Monday to help officials gather the necessary items from the school and move them to selected temporary location(s). This includes packing up belongings in students’ desks and lockers and transporting them to where classes will be held temporarily until such time as they can return to École Plamondon.  

It has been suggested that the Portage College campus in Lac La Biche could be one of the alternate locations, but NLPS officials couldn’t confirm that before the print deadline of this story. 

School staff were expected to be contacting families on Monday with the latest information about future classes. NLPS officials are also hoping to have more information to share at the end of the week about the scope of the repairs that are required at the school, along with the timeline for the work to be completed, and a possible cause of the flood. 

Some witnesses have commented that municipal crews were in the area at the time, working on a construction project. Lac La Biche County officials have been contacted for confirmation. Those details will be updated when they are available. 

Along with  the K-12 school, the community library is also closed until further notice. There has been no update on damage at the library, but like the rest of the school, it is expected to be extensive. 

For more news updates on the school flood, or for video clips of the incident, go to 



Chris McGarry

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