El Niño expected to flood D-wing


Photo by: Rhiannan Ruef

Areas near the D and I buildings often experience flooding during the rainy season.

This upcoming winter, Camarillo is expected to experience a significant increase in rain due to El Niño, a periodic weather system associated with oscillating ocean currents.

Although precipitation in recent years has been minimal, the D-wing classrooms continues to harbor its reputation for flooding. Structural decisions and the wing’s location at the lowest point of the school most directly contribute to the bothersome flooding during high rain periods.

“All three of our classrooms flood horribly during heavy pours,”  said Mr. Richard Winterstein, English and Drama teacher whose classroom is located in D-2. “In the past, they’ve put up sandbags, which are worthless [in halting the floods]. It doesn’t take long— 45 minutes and this place is done.”

The flooding problem has been brought up multiple times at the school district office, who responded by sending engineers to Cam High in attempts to ameliorate the issue. The elevation of the D-wing and the surrounding land is the problem and so, in order to fix it, a large portion of land would have to be modified which would be a large cost.” said Stephen McFarland, director of maintenance and operations for OUHSD.

Drainage issues in the hallway also contributed to the annual flooding. “That’s the problem, there’s no proper drainage for that water to go,” said Winterstein. “If the district repairs that, […] I would certainly appreciate it.”

As a consequence of the D-wing hallway floods, water enters classrooms, leaving large puddles throughout the rooms and potentially causing significant damage, depending on the water’s height. “The bottom of the cabinets here run the risk of becoming rotten, especially [if the water sits] there over the weekend or longer,” said Mr. Shawn Near, social science teacher in the D-wing.

“I remember I had Mr. Near first period, and it was really hard to open the door because of all of the water that collected there would rush in,” said Amanda Dewolfe, senior and former student of Near’s.

Flood problems in the past include damaged walls, wooden furniture, and electrical equipment, particularly in the computer lab at the end of the hall.“Most of the damage is two-fold, actually. One is in my classroom here,” said Winterstein. “The water seeps from the sidewalk out there, then the overflow on the sidewalk goes into the doors and the classroom and about one-third of the classroom is under water. However, the theater is my main concern.”

“If the wood of the stage gets wet then the stage becomes less stable. You get creaks, you get cracks,” said Sarah Gay, senior in Winterstein’s sixth period drama class. “It’s kind of scary being up there knowing that there’s water damage. We end up using lots of mop buckets and towels. That’s all we have essentially to protect ourselves.”

“[The flooding] causes a lot of mildew, and it weakens the walls which is just not safe,” said Jack Young, sophomore also in drama. “I know that [the El Niño year] is going to bring us a lot of rain, and if it’s as big as they’re saying it is, it can lead to a lot of damage and danger.”

“I think Mr. Storer, Mr.Winterstein, and myself are all kind of hoping that, as much as we’d like the rain, hopefully that doesn’t interfere with our ability to do our job and teach,” said Near.