WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Waterloo Community Schools are suing their insurance company for breach of contract for at least $ 19 million after a winter storm caused parts of the roof of Lowell Elementary School to collapse in February 2019.
The roof collapse eventually led to the almost 90 year old school being demolished. The district decided to demolish the school and rebuild it. The cost of simply repairing the damage and keeping the school safe would have significantly exceeded the cost of demolishing and rebuilding it.
The district says the total cost of rebuilding will be no less than $ 19 million, but since the collapse, the district’s insurance company, Employers Mutual Casualty Company, based in Des Moines, has only about $ 1.7 million Paid for the district’s losses, a fraction of what the district claims they are owed.
The lawsuit seeks to seek damages after the district and EMCC failed to reach an insurance agreement. The lawsuit was filed in Polk County last month. A declaratory judgment is required stating, “The policy covers all damage to Lowell resulting from the February 2019 weather event, including repairs outside of the limited area of the collapse.” EMCC denies that it owes the district any further compensation under the policy.
According to the lawsuit, “the collapse occurred because the hidden inner layer of Lowell’s outer walls was too weak to support the snow and ice that had accumulated on the roof during the storm. The mortar in that layer had settled Deteriorated over time No external evidence of ubiquitous mortar deterioration occurred and the district had no reason to expect a roof collapse. “EMCC admitted inspecting the building before it collapsed, denied it however, the claim that the collapse could not be foreseen.
Construction of the new building began last year. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and teachers, students and staff will be moving into the building shortly afterwards.
The full lawsuit can be found here: