Heating Problems Keep EGHS Closed Through Thursday

by | Nov 29, 2023

Above: Work trucks at EGHS Wednesday afternoon.

School will open again on Friday

Thursday (11/30/23) afternoon update from Supt. Ricca:

Happy Thursday Evening, EGPS Families!

I’m full of gratitude to Bob Wilmarth and his team for making this possible.

In addition, I’d like to thank the Town of East Greenwich, particularly the Department of Public Works for making it possible to return all students and staff to school tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 1.

EGHS is open for teaching and learning!

East Greenwich High School will be closed Thursday, Nov. 30, due to ongoing electrical issues, Supt. Brian Ricca said in an email to families Wednesday evening. While progress has been made – as of Wednesday afternoon there was a generator set up outside the science wing just waiting for sign-off from the town building inspector – Ricca said they wanted to use Thursday to ensure they have found and fixed all the problems. The plan is for students to return to the high school for classes on Friday.

Here’s the letter from Supt. Ricca sent to families Thursday: 

This will serve as a statement regarding the situation at East Greenwich High School. 

To begin, there will be no school for students or staff again tomorrow at EGHS. This includes academic and non-academic events. All other buildings remain open for teaching and learning. 

As a part of this explanation, I want to share with you a timeline of the events from this week:

Monday, November 27

  • 6:45 a.m. – Cold classrooms and limited heat were reported in the building. Our team responded and noticed there was low pressure in the heating system. They filled the system with water to get the heat up and running.
  • 9:15 a.m. – Power went off at the high school. Our team began troubleshooting the electronics by tracing out the panels. It was discovered that a main breaker had popped. When the breaker didn’t hold, our team called our electricians. At the time, we didn’t think it was a heating emergency.
  • Later that morning, there was a burning smell near Room 113, along with a natural gas smell, which necessitated the evacuation. [*Editor’s note: According to Supt. Ricca, there was no gas leak.]
  • Our electricians also sent a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician to look at the boiler. They worked through to get the heating system up and running on Monday evening. 

Tuesday, November 28

  • There was a low-pressure situation again in the morning. As a result, our team pumped water back into the system to try to get the pressure up and to maintain heat in the building while still searching for the cause of the low pressure.
  • 3 p.m. – Our team found a hot spot on the floor in the hallway near room 111 and also discovered water coming up in a back stairwell.
  • Our team worked through the night to try to maintain the conditions in our system to have heat for Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 29

  • The decision was made to cancel school at the high school due to the lack of heat in the building.
  • Our team was able to isolate what they think is the source of the leak, and it will take more excavating in the area to not only confirm this is the only source of the leak but also to repair the leak.
  • We made the decision to cancel school again for Thursday, Nov. 30, with the intention of having a functioning heating system operational to have staff and students back at EGHS on Friday, Dec. 1. 

Sincere thanks to Bob Wilmarth, our director of facilities, and his entire team, some of whom worked through the night Tuesday into Wednesday morning, for their stewardship of our buildings.

*This information was added to the story 11/30/23 at 9:30 a.m.

The generator set up outside the science wing of the high school on Wednesday.

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