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Home News-Telegram News School: Gas problem at SSES fixed

School: Gas problem at SSES fixed

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Sulphur Springs Elementary was without heat Monday as gas service was turned off at the campus after a gas leak was detected before dawn. School officials said the “necessary repairs have been made,” and gas and heat were back on Tuesday morning.

Atmos Energy, city and school officials, and independent plumbers were called to SSES to begin assessing the situation after district officials were notified at 4:30 a.m. Monday that a gas odor had been reported in the area, according to Rusty Harden, Sulphur Springs Independent School District director of human resources and communications.

The gas was immediately turned off when officials were notified there was a suspected leak, before anyone arrived on the campus for the school day, Harden noted.

Initially, two pipes were replaced. When tests shows evidence of other possible leaks, all gas service was turned off to the building to ensure safety of students and staff, as well as those working in the area.

Harden,  in a press release issued at lunch Monday, stated “The building may be cold in some places, however, where there are groups of students, it is generally comfortable. Precautions are being taken by all involved parties to ensure that safety remains the number one priority. As long as the gas is off, all building occupants are safe.”

The notice was posted on the district’s Facebook page, where a few parents expressed concern that social media was the only form of communication about the issue, and then not until late in the school day. Others expressed thanks for the information and precautions.

Harden Tuesday morning emphasized the gas was off before anyone arrived on the campus for the day, and as classes continued, workers continued at the school and in the area using air instead of gas to test for leaks.

In Monday’s post, SSISD advised the process could take up to two days, with classes continuing. The district recommended “as the testing and repair process continues students may want to bring a coat and gloves to help stay warm in the colder areas of the building.”

Fortunately, Harden said, Monday was a warmer day than the last couple of weeks, so conditions weren’t as cold inside as they would have been.

At about 8:30 a.m., upon receiving word, Harden reported “the gas is back on and everything is back to normal at SSES.  The necessary repairs have been made and the building now has heat. As always the safety of our students and staff are our first priority and we appreciate you being patient as we made the necessary repairs.”

That’s not the only repair this season going on at SSES. The school board last week approved emergency replacement of 32 old HVAC units at the school. A&S Air Conditioning is slated to put the units in over the Christmas holidays when students and teachers are out of class.

Superintendent Michael Lamb noted that the units had been in place since 1996. When they were doing some of the scheduled repairs at SSES they found cracks in some pipes. When they attempted to order replacement parts, school officials were told replacement parts were no longer available for such old models. Thus, the need for new units, Lamb said.

As far as cost, Lamb said Friday, “We’ve got the funding available. It will be costly, but we will be able to handle it.”




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