OAKLAND -- The Oakland school district's four-story administrative headquarters was flooded out early Tuesday, and the roughly 150 employees who report there will have to work elsewhere for the rest of the week.

The problem appears to have started when someone left a tap on in the fourth-floor custodian's closet, gushing 3 gallons of water per minute overnight until the swampy mess was discovered at 6 a.m. Tuesday, said district spokesman Troy Flint.

The water damaged some equipment, as well as the structure of the already-decaying building at 1025 Second Ave., which houses the superintendent and the human resources and payroll departments, among others.

Buildings and grounds workers quickly set to work, moving files out of harm's way, pulling up carpets and, in hard-hit spots, removing ceiling tiles and insulation to make sure mold didn't set in. Flint said there was not yet a damage estimate, but that he expected it to be in the six figures.

"It's going to take a few days to make it inhabitable again," Flint said.

Flint said he believed the water was left on accidentally.

Employees on Tuesday morning received an email to stay home, Flint said, and most received the message in time.

Flint said customer service departments, such as human resources, will temporarily be housed somewhere else -- possibly in the former Cole Middle School or the Marcus Foster campus. A plan is expected to be confirmed Wednesday.


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District employees who work at the headquarters are being asked to report to the building Wednesday to collect their personal belongings. For safety reasons, they will be escorted to their offices.

The regular school board meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday will instead be held across Second Avenue, at La Escuelita Elementary School, Flint said.

Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog at www.IBAbuzz.com/education. Follow her at Twitter.com/katymurphy.