At least half a dozen Howard County schools were damaged when pipes that froze in last week's sub-zero temperatures thawed and burst, flooding classrooms.
Much of the damage was minor and involved drenched carpets and wet furniture, said Thomas Kierzkowski, school facilities director.
But three schools -- Mayfield Woods and Burleigh Manor middle schools and Pointers Run Elementary School -- suffered more substantial damage.
School officials say they have no cost estimates on the damage, which occurred last week when students and staff were off because of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and bad weather.
At Mayfield Woods Middle School, where the sprinkler system went awry in the front office, three computers, rugs, furniture and several phones were destroyed.
"The water went down the first floor hall and damaged the entire gym floor, which has to be replaced," Assistant Principal Denise Karas said. "The entire floor was completely rippled."
Desk drawers were filled with water. Pictures, certificates, student artwork and personal mementos in Ms. Karas's office and that of Principal Jesse Smith also were destroyed.
At Pointers Run Elementary School in Clarksville, the fifth-grade class area was damaged by a hot water pipe leak. Maintenance workers are expected to finish recarpeting the area by next week.
"It was just a mess," Principal Andrew Barshinger said. "Because the water was so hot, it was like a sauna back there. It made everything damp. I can't praise enough the maintenance workers, the plumbers, the custodians, particularly Assistant Custodial Manager Rick Dorsey. They discovered it early in the morning and just went right to work."
School officials did not give further details yesterday regarding the water damage at Burleigh Manor in Ellicott City.
At Laurel Woods Elementary School on North Laurel Road, a hot water pipe burst, flooding the fourth-grade area with up to 2 inches of water, said Principal Patricia Tidgewell, who discovered the leak last Friday.
Students and teachers this week had to relocate to other classrooms and to the media center.
"Time will tell, but at this point, we're in pretty good shape," Ms. Tidgewell said.
"The carpet is still drying out. Some charts were a little water-soaked, but nothing major."
Ms. Tidgewell said the school's staff and students have cooperated throughout the inconvenience caused by the water damage.
"We're working just fine," she said. "The staff has been great at being flexible, and the children have been wonderful making the adjustment."
At Atholton High School in Columbia, more than 20 classrooms were soaked when a water-powered ventilating system broke down. At Mount View Middle School in Marriottsville, an eighth-grade classroom also flooded last Friday, destroying some of the students' work and other paperwork.
"The carpet wasn't destroyed, but it was soaked," said Principal Marion Payne.
Two other pipes in the school also were frozen, but "we were fortunate in that we . . . caught them just in time," she said.
The flooded room did not cause problems yesterday. Eighth-graders whose classes usually are held in that classroom spent the day at their parents' workplace as part of a lesson planned earlier.
Mr. Kierzkowski and a number of principals praised the school system's maintenance and custodial crews, saying their team work and vigilance prevented major damage.
"We were very busy," he said. "We had crews and people on site throughout the week. I personally would like to applaud those people for their tremendous effort."