School out Wednesday at Windlake Academy due to frozen pipes

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- After two days off because of bitterly cold temperatures, Wednesday it was back to school and back into the cold -- for many kids in southeast Wisconsin, including students at Donges Bay Elementary in Mequon.

"You need to take precautions to help them stay warm because they can't do it on their own," explained Judy Parrish, a parent.

"I think if you just teach them to respect nature a little bit and tell them to be prepared and limit their time outside it's alright," said Nathan Smallwood, a father.

School officials did their part to limit time outside by canceling outdoor recess and making sure the buses were ready and early. But some problems caused by the cold are just unavoidable, like at Windlake Academy, where school was still out on Wednesday because of a frozen pipe.

"It was a little pipe, and kind of on the corner, and no water flowing. It was serving a water fountain, of course there was nobody using the water fountains so there was no water flowing. What do you do?" said Joe Wikrent, a school employee.

Wikrent says the big problem was the fact it was on the fourth floor. Gallons of water seeped through every single floor, all the way down to the basement, causing thousands of dollars in damage to ceiling tiles, carpets and walls. They wouldn't even have known about if it wasn't for the water damage done a fire alarm that brought the fire department over.

"It's real discouraging. We know already that the fix is not immediate," said Wikrent.

Despite all the destruction, Wikrent says they're actually pretty fortunate. The water damage came close to destroying dozens of computers. But they were left unharmed.

Now they're in clean up mode, drying everything out and determining what needs to be replaced. Plus they are now dealing with the fact that this means a total of at least four days off for students this week.

"It is a little frustrating -- especially if we have to make these days up at the end of the year," said Wikrent.

School officials say insurance will cover most of the damage at Windlake Academy.

The teachers will be back Thursday, but students won't be allowed back in to the charter school until Friday at the earliest.