2017-07-16 / News

Flood waters forced Saginaw ISD to move out ahead of schedule

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter


Saginaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Stewart breathes a sigh of relief after the office had to be relocated due to flooding. She commended the staff on how professionally they handled the situation. 
Photo by Jeanne Marcello Saginaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Stewart breathes a sigh of relief after the office had to be relocated due to flooding. She commended the staff on how professionally they handled the situation. Photo by Jeanne Marcello SAGINAW COUNTY – The Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD) office has relocated to its new location at the Saginaw Transitions Center, 3933 Barnard St., just south of McCarty Rd. There’s no sign out front yet, but it’s better than staying in a flooded building.

SISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Stewart explained that during the weekend of June 24 and 25, the Tittabawassee River flooded its banks, filling the lower level of the Gratiot Road SISD administrative office with three feet of water. The flooding made it necessary to evacuate the entire office and make an impromptu move.

As the flood waters rose, staff monitored the situation. They were told that the river would crest on Saturday, June 25. As the Tittabawassee River continued to rise and even with a protective berm in the back of the property, the SISD’s technology team decided not to take any chances and moved all of the technology equipment out of the lower level of the building. Stewart said, “Our backup servers were on that lower level. They relocated the servers just hours before the lower level flooded.”

As flood waters entered the building Saturday evening, the staff took action and had Consumers Energy cut the power to the building as a safety precaution.

Staff returned to the office on Sunday to assess the situation and discovered three feet of water in the lower level. With no power and a flooded building, it was time to take quick action in order to continue to conduct Saginaw ISD business.

Many of the employees showed up on Sunday to help pull as many tables out of the building as they could find. Those were moved to the new office and arranged into temporary office work stations.

Stewart said, “It’s hard to imagine. Everyone was very professional, very understanding. While our move was expected to take four to six weeks, we moved in three hours. That’s just everyone pulling together and helping out.”

Human Resources Director Scott Sawyer said, “It’s really remarkable because it’s a very busy time, with lots of financial reports due. It’s ordinarily stressful. People took it with a pretty good sense of humor; most of the time.”

Stewart explained that they had been planning the move to the Saginaw Transitions Building for quite some time.

“We wanted to be good stewards of the state, local and federal revenues that support us,” Stewart said.

The SISD owns multiple buildings in Saginaw County: the Millet Learning on Center on Southfield Drive; the Saginaw Transitions Center on Fashion Square Boulevard; and the Regional Education Service Center (RESC) on Gratiot (M-46) at Midland Road (M-47); Hartley Outdoor Education Center, on Beaver Road in St. Charles; and Brunkow Elementary on south 24th Street in Saginaw.

“Through our study in the fall of 2015, we identified space that could be repurposed,” Stewart said.

Seven large classrooms and a multipurpose room in the Saginaw Transitions Center were turned into office space for the SISD. Other programs previously located at the RESC will relocate to the Millet Learning Center.

Stewart said, “With the rainstorm, we had water from neighboring counties. We haven’t been identified as one of the flood areas. We were very fortunate. I have no idea of the extent of flood damage in our county.”

Sawyer said, “A lot of homes flooded.”

Stewart said, “We’re still assessing our losses. Servpro has been in cleaning and assessing the damage. We haven’t received a full listing of lost equipment, supplies and property damage yet,” Dr. Stewart said.

The SISD is retaining the same office phone number (989) 249-8700.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Stewart served as superintendent of Chesaning Union Schools. Sawyer previously served the Chesaning school district as finance director and as a math teacher.

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