In July 2010, Nicolet High School in Milwaukee, Wis., a 385,000-square-foot public high school, experienced devastating water and structural damage throughout the basement and first floor levels when up to 5 feet of water poured in from recent flooding rains.

The large loss specialists for Paul Davis Restoration and Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling of Southeast Wisconsin responded to an emergency services call for building restoration, drying and stabilization services. According to J. Murphy, Paul Davis National’s co-owner, the company served as the general contractor with restoration crews on the job. The team worked with Dr. Rick Monroe, Nicolet Union High School District Superintendent; the district’s facilities and operations staff; insurance adjusters and subcontractors to provide restoration and emergency mitigation services.

The Paul Davis office in Milwaukee received the emergency call from Dr. Monroe on July 22 and responded immediately to assess the damage. “The school had experienced devastating water damage and other problems due to high humidity in the summer heat,” Murphy said. “The school was closed for summer, so we were fortunate to have the space available for emergency services, structural clean up, repairs and restoration. Areas with the most damage included the basement, underground tunnel operations, hallways, classrooms, common areas and the gymnasium.”

Repairs and restoration work included removal and replacement of all porous materials that came into contact with water like drywall, carpeting, cabinets, wood paneling, and base molding. Also, after being submerged in approximately 5 feet of water, replacement of all main electrical and mechanical equipment was mandatory. The company replaced 85 percent of floor covering and all of the wood flooring in the main gymnasium and smaller special purpose wood floors. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) was cleaned and most of the walls were repainted. After the construction work was completed, the company cleaned and sterilized 100 percent of the school building, and the operations tunnel system was disinfected.

In addition to the general contractors, highly-specialized emergency services technicians and restoration experts arrived at the job daily, with crews working 24/7. Tractor trailers and hundreds of pieces of large and small equipment were housed on-site and used to mitigate the flood damage. Desiccant dehumidifiers, air movers, generators, and drying and contents processing equipment also arrived on the job along with skilled labor.

“This was a challenging project, however hourly and daily increments were planned to assess the damage and the work required to get the project done on time,” Murphy said. “To add to the complexity of the job, the building was severely damaged and we had to contain and control the microbial growth right away. We established a healthy and safe environment for the building’s ongoing use as a public school.”

According to Murphy, the situation was brought under control quickly and effectively through emergency response support. “This particular type of loss is unpredictable, and therefore, a response strategy must be managed. There are many times when the situation was critical, and immediate action was needed,” Murphy said. “Documentation is crucial to ensure efficient cost containment. The company’s primary objective is to operate all loss sites efficiently by establishing, in writing, its proposed tactics and techniques in advance of implementation.”

In this case, time was critical and an agreed-upon course of action had to be implemented immediately to alleviate potential problems. “Having a close relationship with the restoration company allowed us to make more effective and efficient decisions, and to make sure the resources were in place to meet the demands of the situation,” Dr. Monroe said. “We know the local office owner and his staff in Milwaukee, and recognize the company’s reputation as specialists in the field. We had confidence they could complete the job in just seven weeks when we re-opened for teachers and students in September. We are very pleased.”