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Friday, 22 September 2017 03:49

Boiler room causes Herbert school’s flood

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A major project to replace mechanical and electrical equipment at Herbert School had to be carried out shortly before the start of the new school year.


The work was required after a boiler room flood at the school.
Details about the project were provided during the presentation of the facilities and maintenance status report at a regular Chinook School Division board meeting, Sept. 11.
The incident occurred on Aug. 7, which was a public holiday. Rod Quintin, the Chinook School Division’s chief financial officer, said the damage was therefore not discovered immediately.
“There was a manifold in the crawl space that failed and so it started to leak water,” he explained. “It was not discovered because no one was on the school site over the long weekend and until there was some evidence that there was a problem, there was about four and a half feet of water in the boiler room.”
There was damage to a variety of components in the boiler room, including boilers, pump motors, hot water heater, air compressor, irrigation pump, air dryer, main electrical service, electrical panels, starters and associated components.
“It was quite extensive in that it basically took out the entire electrical system of the school,” he said. “So to get the kind of gear that we needed in place to fire up the electricity again in time for school to start was very important. We had developed some contingency plans around what will we do if the school can’t open on time, how many days will we let them not attend school before we find another location.”
In the end the school was able to open on schedule due to a lot of effort by maintenance staff and contractors to complete the work on time.
“We worked really hard with the electrical engineer and the contractor to make sure that we were able to open on time,” he said. “We had a little challenge with the teachers being unable to prepare inside the school because there was no electricity in that school, and so we had to make alternate arrangement for them to prepare for school somewhere else, but we did manage to be open on time.”
While the electrical work was completed in time for the opening of the new school year, there are still some other items that must be fixed.
“We don’t have all of the pneumatics running yet,” he said. “So the pneumatics will control things like the ventilation system. That’s our next priority to get the ventilation system up and running. The final will be the heat and of course it is September. So we need to be getting heat in place before too long. If the weather turns it could be a problem, but we have assurance from the contractor that we will be by mid-October with heat.”
The total cost of the project to replace all the damaged equipment must still be determined, but Quintin estimated it will be around $400,000.
“The type of equipment that was damaged was high value equipment,” he said. “Unfortunately, the boilers were one year old and so we were replacing one-year-old boilers with brand new boilers.
An insurance claim will be submitted for this damage, but the Chinook School Division also discussed the cost with the Ministry of Education.
“The ministry has a funding pool called Emergent Funding for events such as this,” he said.
“So if there are some non-insurable items within that, they would provide some funding. We hope through the Emergent Funding to cover them.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer