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Poland schools get soggy start to 2014

January 17, 2014
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Last week's severe winter weather moved the start of school to Wednesday for most of the Valley schools. Poland remained closed and didn't resume classes until Thursday. The extra day was needed to solve some damage caused by the sub-zero temperatures.

"We had water pipes burst at McKinley and North, and had a squealing boiler at Dobbins," said Poland superintendent David Janofa. "We were originally on a two-hour delay, but decided to go to a full cancellation."

Janofa said the repairs at North and Dobbins elementary buildings were completed on Wednesday, but the problems at McKinley were much more involved. Janofa said McKinley is an old building and while the maintenance has been excellent, its age was a problem when the temperatures dropped below zero.

"When McKinley was built, the building codes were a lot different than today," Janofa said.

The water leaks at McKinley happened because of the way the walls were set up. According to Janofa there was a metal plate between the exterior brick and the water lines that ran from the boiler to each individual classroom. There is no insulation protecting the water lines and thus they froze easily.

On Thursday, McKinley remained closed while the rest of Poland's public school buildings opened for classes. Janofa said the repairs at McKinley meant a long process. The school's boiler had to be started to find out where the leaks were. It then had to be shut down and repairs made, then the boiler was fired up again and the next leak down the line was pin-pointed. The process of starting and stopping the boiler took the whole day. Each leak discovered meant tearing the interior wall apart to make the fix.

"We had to open walls in each room," Janofa said. "We are now up to six coil units that are ruined."

He said the school's insurance company has been called about the damage, but at this time it is uncertain what and how much of the bill will be covered.

As a temporary measure, plans were being made to house the McKinley students at the middle school.



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