Broken pipe leaves students with no heat, and disrupts classes
The issue regarding heating was first discovered near the portables on September 12th. A faculty member noticed water was bubbling up from the ground, however, the surrounding area was dry. Upon further investigation by the custodial staff, it was discovered that the pipe laid underground was responsible for the leak.
After this discovery, custodians dug up the blacktop and found that a section of the pipe was corroded, leaking, and practically disconnected from the rest of the pipe. The pipe runs from the boiler building next to the portables into the school, carrying hot water from the boilers to the heating system. With a faulty pipe, Blind Brook’s custodians attempted to patch it to solve the problem.
After the temporary fix, Derek Schuelein, Blind Brook High School principal stated, “The patch right now is holding, but it is still leaking; it’s just mitigated the leaking dramatically.” Fortunately, the patch has proved successful for the most part, but it is not a permanent solution.
To further the improvement of the situation, the district reached out to many companies for the job of replacing the pipe. Not only do they have to replace the leaky pipe, but the District is taking extra preventative measures by replacing the second pipe that did not appear to be leaking. In order to maintain heat throughout the building, the district had to work fast to hire someone. “A job with as large a scope of work as this requires that it be bid out, therefore a public notice was published and bids were accepted through October 9th. The company with the lowest bid was Joe Lombardo Plumbing & Heating of Rockland County. The Board of Education accepted their bid and awarded a contract for them to replace both pipes at a cost of $109,000.” Dr. Jonathan Ross shares. The company had to completely excavate the pipe all the way from the boilers to the actual connection to the school building.
This high cost is not added to the districts budget because it is an emergency project. The $109,000 will be taken from other expenditures of the district, possibly limiting other needs of the district.
“Where we are now is that they are digging up the existing pipe (you can see the trench all the way to the building). While that is going on the plan is to run the heat; every day they are running the heat. The patch that our crew had worked on is still holding, still leaking a bit, but no way near what the leakage was,” Schuelein shares.
However, the heat did not, in fact, run every day. It was shut off in the building on Friday, October 26th, around midday in order for the new pipe to be installed on the 28th. According to Schuelein, this should not be an issue because the school has a highcapacity for retaining heat and should be able to last the 4 hours of the day. Another problem with heat occurred on the 23rd, as it had to be shut off in the auditorium, during an assembly. Thankfully, this was not too much of an inconvenience to the students. Last weekend the construction crew continued to test everything and carefully do the needed work to put everything back together for this week.
But the question is raised: If this problem was discovered a few weeks ago, why is construction happening now? Although it has taken weeks, for school construction this is lightning speed. Especially considering it was less than a month ago when the problem was identified.
The construction has become a distraction for many students, especially those in the portables, the 2 classrooms located outside of the building. Sophomore Alexa Forder stated, “There was just a lot of construction going on, and it was hard to hear what the teacher was saying due to all the sound that was going on around us.”
To combat the learning disruptions, Schuelein offered to relocate the classes taught in the portables, and even some classes in the building to get away from the noisy environment. Most classes took this offer up because the desks were physically shaking as the tools pierced the ground. Besides the noise, there was also a slight inconvenience of relocating some parking spots and the flow of student traffic by the portables.