Water main break forces closing
Although the water main break was fixed at one p.m. today, minor repair work still needs to be completed next week.
According to Director of Facilities Stewart Walker, a “small section” of the driveway will be cold patched. Walker added, “When the weather turns warmer, it will receive a permanent patch. The final dress-up and seeding will be completed where the line was repaired.”
See below for more details on the water main break.
Following a water main break near the loading dock early this morning, the school made the decision to close.
“It was a fairly easy decision to close school,” said Facilities Director Stewart Walker.
“We can’t have a thousand people in the building and toilets that won’t flush and water that won’t run. That’s no way to run a school,” said Principal Paul Barker.
According to Barker, the break caused water near the loading dock to “bubble up 6 in. high, clearing out the snow for quite a large area.”
Walker added that water was flowing down the hill by the main entrance “all the way to Route 22.”
Barker, who arrived this morning at 5:45 and didn’t see anything, was notified of the problem around 7:00 by maintenance personnel.
“It’s hard to determine when exactly it happened, but we should be able to determine that later when we speak with the water company,” said Walker.
“It could’ve been going for hours,” added Barker.
The main is maintained by Maryland American Water, who had personnel here “fairly quickly,” said Barker.
Network Supervisor for the company Jeffery Barton turned off the valve for the fire hydrant nearby and according to Barker, Barton’s immediate impression was that “we had a main line issue.”
Maryland American Water brought in a contractor to “isolate the broken area,” according to Walker.
Barker decided to close the school at 8:25. “I had a hell of a time getting through to WBAL, but we finally did.” There were also “people outside saying ‘no school, turn around.’”
At the time Barker called the cancellation, there were only 5 students in the building.
“We’re hopeful it’ll be back up late this afternoon,” but “it depends what they find,” said Walker.
Barker cites a possible reason for the breakage as being the school’s aging infrastructure. “Our infrastructure is probably 46 years old,” said Barker.
Walker said the breakage could have occurred as a result of the recent snow, but also said there are many factors.
Walker said that because no one from the school caused the breakage, it’s the company’s responsibility to fix it. “All the lines coming on to campus are their responsibility,” said Walker.
It cost the school $13,919 a month on average during the 2008-2009 fiscal year to provide water for the main building, according to Director of Finance Kay Nichols.
According to Barker, “we’re one day in the hole [as far as snow days].” No information has been given about how the day will be made up. “Something’s gonna give,” said Barker.
As a result of school being cancelled, senior moderator and library media specialist Anne Baker plans to postpone the dance “most likely to next Saturday.”
Baker cites the reason for cancellation as not the water main break, but the fact that students have one less day to buy tickets.
“We have to flexible, and we hope everyone else will be too,” said Baker.