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Published March 29, 2009, 03:04 PM

FLOOD UPDATE: Oak Grove officials optimistic as giant sandbags slow water flow into campus

FARGO – Giant sandbags have slowed the flow of water under a dike into the Oak Grove Lutheran School campus, raising optimism among school officials that water damage can be limited to two of the school’s five buildings.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

FARGO – Giant sandbags have slowed the flow of water under a dike into the Oak Grove Lutheran School campus, raising optimism among school officials that water damage can be limited to two of the school’s five buildings.

“Last night seemed to be the dawning of a very dark day for us and our neighborhood and our community,” school President Bruce Messelt said. “But it took some absolutely brilliant thinking from some incredible people, and we are fighting the fight and we are at this point winning the fight.”

An Army Blackhawk helicopter placed 11 one-ton sandbags where the water was coming into campus, and crews were pumping water out of the campus this afternoon, Fargo Public Works Operations Manager Al Weigel said.

“We should hopefully be able to get everything back again with only two buildings having water,” he said.

Messelt said the administration building, Arvid Benson Hall, located near the dike breach, has a basement full of water, and Jackson Hall has about 6 inches of water in its basement.

“We are trying to get this to a sustainable level, so that we can ride out the crest and the lowering of the water and eventually we will move into full recovery mode. So we are incredibly blessed,” he said, adding the school wanted to make Weigel an “honorary Grover.”

Messelt said it’s unknown what led to the breach in the steel cofferdam on the north side of campus.

The new Scheels Center for Performing Arts did not take on any water, nor did the Darwin Gorder Gymnasium, Messelt said. The Ellig Wellness Center has some sewer backup, but that was a problem before the dike breach, he said.

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