Burst pipe shuts down Coldwater Canyon Ave.

Chronicle Staff

A water main that broke before 1 a.m. Monday on the 12700 block of Mulholland Drive blocked Coldwater Canyon Avenue, causing the start of school to be pushed back to 8:35 a.m. and activities period to be eliminated.

Although there were roadblocks at the entrance of Coldwater from Ventura Boulevard, southbound students were able to get to school using side roads including Halkirk Street  from the east and Valley Vista Boulevard from the west. The north lanes of Coldwater were blocked at Harvard-Westlake Drive.

The decision to delay the start of school came from Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said.

Huybrechts e-mailed the faculty starting first period at 8:35. She decided not to send an all-student notification.

“Once you get to school it’€™s obvious,”€ she said.

Attendance Coordinator J. Gabriel Preciado said that there were only 15 absences first period this morning, a number that Preciado described as ‘€œaverage’€ for a Monday school day. He credits this to the revised schedule.

“€œThe move to have first period begin at 8:35 a.m. was a very positive move,”€ he said.

He said without this there might have been 300 absences. Director of Campus Operations Jim De Matte was alerted of the break at 4:50 a.m. He contacted administrators including Huybrechts.

Students who park in the senior lot and lower St. Michael’s were able to enter from the south entrance.

Those in the upper St. Michael’€™s parking lot entered on Harvard-Westlake Drive, drove through lower St. Michael’s and talked to a traffic officer who allowed them to drive to the upper parking lot, Nina Kim ’09 and Yoonkee Sull ‘€™09 said.

“It seems like you’€™ve always been able to get to Harvard-Westlake,”€ staff assistant to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Battalion 14 Daniel Curry said.  He was stationed in the parking lot of the Center at Coldwater.

Giberson directed traffic at the intersection of Coldwater and Halkirk and helped the Department of Transportation sort through the drivers and pick out those cars which contained and were driven by Harvard-Westlake students.

The city, along with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Transportation makes the decision “€œwhether a city street or boulevard is safely accessible,”€ Giberson said.

Giberson also addressed rumors that city officials had said school should be closed, but school administrators pressed on with holding school anyways.

“€œIf they say it’€™s not safe, if there’s a mudslide or something where it’s not safe to have school, then we’ll listen and not have school,”€ Giberson said.

Plant Manager Felipe Anguiano spent the morning helping security protect student parking spots in lower St. Michael”€™s, and placed a piece of plywood on the North driveway so students who parked on Coldwater could step over the gushing water and mud.

As a result of the activities period being canceled, the Student Alumni Association’€™s first Senior Gift meeting was postponed.

It will probably occur after winter break, Chief Advancement Operator Ed Hu said.

Huybrechts said that it was lucky that there was not an assembly or other event happening this activities period.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Coldwater reopened around 2 p.m.