Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 11, 2014

Pipes burst at schools

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — WOODLAWN — Woodlawn High School and Grade School were closed again Thursday due, in part, to several frozen pipes bursting and causing water to leak into some of the rooms.

Superintendent David Larkin said Friday the pipes have been repaired and classes should be able to resume Monday. On Friday, a teachers’ workshop was held for the Woodlawn district and classes were not in session.

“Everything is fixed right now except the heat in the library (at the high school). We hope to have that fixed today,” Larkin said Friday. “Hopefully, students will be back on Monday.”

Woodlawn school officials had originally planned to hold the teachers’ workshop on Monday and have classes resume Tuesday. The heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, however, prompted officials to cancel school on Monday and Tuesday.

The damaged pipes were discovered Tuesday by custodial staff. One pipe had burst at the grade school in the locker room area and several pipes had burst at the high school.

Larkin said water leaked into the library and cafeteria at the high

school and into the locker room at the grade school.

The pipe situation, as well as road conditions and heating issues, resulted in the schools also being closed Wednesday and Thursday.

It is believed the pipes had frozen and then burst when they thawed out, Larkin said.

At some point early this week, the heater went out at the high school, which likely contributed to the problem in that building, Larkin said.

Larkin said fixing the pipes was not a major repair job. The most challenging thing for the district has been scheduling the plumbing and heating work, Larkin said.

“The plumbing and heating people are so busy now. They’re overwhelmed by calls right now,” Larkin said. “(But) Ford Plumbing did a great job for us.”

Woodlawn has now used seven emergency days for this school year. The district will be required to make up five of those days, Larkin said.

Webber Township High School also experienced some maintenance difficulties this week.

Classes were canceled at the school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to severe weather.

On Wednesday morning, a valve broke off on the school’s boiler, causing the release of steam into several classrooms and the girls restroom.

A custodian working that day discovered the problem after the steam release set off the fire alarms. The custodian then shut down the boiler.

The valve was replaced Thursday and the boiler is now functioning properly, said Principal Brock Harris Friday.

Due to the repairs and ongoing weather concerns, Webber officials decided to also cancel classes on Thursday and Friday.

The steam did cause damage to some of the rooms, Harris said. Fortunately, school was not in session at the time and there were no injuries, he added.

“It will require some cosmetic work and (possibly) replacing some of the technical equipment, such as computers and Smart Boards,” Harris said. “Hopefully, with the weather warming up, we will be back in session Monday.”

Harris said Webber Township High School has used seven or eight emergency days so far this school year.