Government

Waypoint scrambles to recover from $1 million damage from burst pipe

A burst water main caused flooding and damage in the lower level of Waypoint Services. (Submitted by Waypoint)
A burst water main caused flooding and damage in the lower level of Waypoint Services. (Submitted by Waypoint)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A water main break has caused $1 million in damage to Waypoint Services, a downtown social services provider offering child care and programming for children, a lifeline to those without homes and support for those facing domestic abuse, organization officials said.

A pipe burst last Thursday in the lower level where school-aged programming occurs, flooding the space and causing major damage. The building at 318 Fifth St. SE was evacuated of about 60 staff members, children and other clients.

“It not only flooded the basement, there was so much pressure it lifted the floor 8 inches causing the walls to crack and be bowed,” said Autumn Craft, the organization’s chief development and marketing officer. “It happened so quickly. We were hearing popping noises and then we had to get everyone out of building.”

Some programming has been relocated, and officials hope to resume disrupted services by Wednesday.

The 24-hour resource and support line for domestic violence remains available at 800-208-0388, and shelter services support is available at 319-366-7999.

Staff are investigating what caused the pipe to burst. The maintenance woes surfaced as the organization was preparing to announce the final $100,000 push to complete a $3.3 million capital campaign to update the KidsPoint Downtown Learning Center & Preschool, enhance security and complete minor building upgrades. That work is scheduled to begin in April.

The remodel was not supposed to include the lower level, although now that, too, will need to be overhauled. Insurance should cover most but not all of the costs, Craft said.

Jaye Kennedy of Waypoint shows damage after water main break

The damage has added to the urgency to complete the fundraising campaign and the organization, which marked its 125 year anniversary last year, is requesting community support.

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“We have a strong team, we are working diligently to come up with a solution so we can resume operations for all our programs that are critical to this community.” Jaye Kennedy, Waypoint chief executive, said in a statement. “The next few weeks to months will be stressful with the damage in the lower level and figuring out the relocation of programs. Our focus needs to be there. It would be a relief to have the fundraising part of the campaign complete.”

The lower level held a care center for 30 to 60 school-aged children. That has been relocated to an adjacent building. An upper-level care center for 90 infants to preschoolers is being relocated to a temporary space two blocks away.

Waypoint had the space reserved already to facilitate the remodel, but it was not supposed to be ready until March. Instead, crews scrambled this weekend to erect walls and otherwise prepare on the fly, Craft said.

The temporary locations will be ready Wednesday, Craft said.

Craft said the organization hopes to overlap the planned remodel alongside making repairs to the lower level. The programming could be displaced for a year, she said.

“The silver lining is at least no one was hurt, at least it didn’t happen over the weekend when no one was here and the water could have done more damage, and at least we didn’t do the remodel and then have this happen,” Craft said.

The shelter remains operational. A coordinated entry program in which people can visit during the day for basic supplies is expected to be reopen by Wednesday, she said.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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