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Midland Park

Steam Pipe Bursts at Highland School

03/07/2014 11:46AM ● By Rebecca K. Abma

Highland School

A faulty steam pipe burst in the music room at Highland School early Friday morning, causing minor water damage and impacting heat throughout the building for most of the school day. The incident occurred prior to the start of the school day and no injuries were reported. 

According to school officials, administrators and repair service personnel were on site at 7:30am and repairs were completed by 1:45pm. The heating system was turned off for the day, while staff monitored the temperatures throughout the classrooms. 

Upgrades to the Highland School's heating system has been an issue for some time. The referendum that failed in December 2012 included $1.4 million to replace the heating system to hot water from steam. 

In 2003, voters approved a $12 million referendum that earmarked $300,000 for upgrades to the heating system at Highland School. However, officials said the boiler was not replaced as originally planned, because the materials cost exceeded the budget as the price of steel increased substantially between when the costs were estimated and the projects went to bid.

A potential plan to replace the boilers through an Energy Savings Initiative Program through Honeywell did not pan out as officials had hoped, and after months of meetings and planning the district did not qualify for the program, Superintendent Dr. Marie Cirasella told Midland Park Press on Friday. 

The district was recently approved for $3.1 million in state grants, which  represent 40 percent of the nearly $8 million in projects submitted. The remainder of those funds will presumably come from another referendum, however, the Board of Education has not released any plans for when that might happen. 

"Discussions are ongoing at the board level for facility repairs," Dr. Cirasella explained. 

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