For a few hours Sunday night, the basketball court at East High School looked more like a swimming pool.
A massive rainstorm submerged the front of the Salt Lake City school, with the puddle outside so deep that it reached up to the handles of the metal doors. Several students tried wading through it.
“And then it all just came rushing into the gym,” said Jason Olsen, the spokesman for Salt Lake City School District.
The school, at 1300 East and 840 South, was among the hardest hit in the surprisingly strong storm that pummeled much of Salt Lake, Davis and Tooele counties, turning roads into rivers and transforming neighborhoods into swamps.
Several inches flooded the basketball court at East High — where the “High School Musical” movies and TV show were filmed. In places, it was knee-deep. From there, it leaked below into the wrestling and lockers rooms on the lower levels.
“Those aren’t quite as bad because they’re cement floors,” Olsen said.
But the school is worried about the basketball court, which was replaced four years ago — almost to the day — after a storm ruined the hardwood floors then with a similar flood. The damage then cost about $2 million.
Olsen said the district doesn’t know yet if the floors will need to be replaced again.
Crews went in Sunday night and got as much of the rain out as possible, including pumping it out of the puddle that collected in front of the school. And they’re using dryers now inside.
“There is some buckling of the floors,” Olsen said. “I’m not sure if they’re going to be able to sand it down.”
Some water is also still sitting below the boards and dripping into the basement. And there’s a lot of mud to clean up.
East High is the only school in the district, the spokesman said, that had flooding. Maintenance staff, though, will continue to monitor roof and parking lots drains for additional leaks elsewhere.
The baseball field at East High was also flooded, ruining equipment there.
The damage won’t impact school starting later this month, Olsen said. Students will still be able to return in-person to classrooms at East.
But Olsen said the district does want to sit down with officials from the city to determine what is causing the problem with flooding at the school and to fix it.
The water should have flowed down 800 South, Olsen said, but instead it collected and pooled at 1300 East. “We’ve got to figure out that intersection. This can’t keep happening,” he added.
The spokeswoman for the city declined to comment for this story.
Across Salt Lake City, crews cleaned up the wreckage Monday. And most was expected to dry out.