School may be in session, but some Derry schools are still waiting for summer renovations to be over. The Honeywell Project had been funding some major overhauls to the heating and lighting systems for a few of the elementary schools. Both Barker and South Range schools saw a change from their old oil heating systems to newer natural gas systems. The problem is that the schools are unable to connect to the new natural gas lines being put in by Liberty Utilities. The company has been facing complications with the line installations on Route 28 that have put them a few weeks behind schedule.
Business Administrator Jane Simard assured the school board that both Barker and South Range would be okay. The weather has not been cold enough to warrant turning the heat on just yet. Until the lines are connected, the schools still have access to their original oil heat. They have full tanks and are ready to go if need be.
“The gas line took a lot longer than we thought,” Simard said. “We’ll have heat, but it just might not be natural gas.”
Students and staff can expect to see work being done on the heating systems and other mechanical concerns until November, according to Simard. One of those concerns is East Derry’s “wall of windows,” which also saw an upgrade this summer. The original goal was to make some of the windows in the wall able to open, providing some much-needed cross-ventilation. The windows they wanted were not available before now, but are on the list of things to fix before it gets too cold.
East Derry Village and Grinnell are up and running with all their changes. It was proposed at the Sept. 12 School Board meeting that the two schools be used for daycare during school vacations. The main concern would be costs and how they would inform parents of any weather-related cancelations.
“I think it’s a great idea. People will just have to accept that there might be a snow day and take the proper channels to announce… so no one will have to worry,” Board Member Brenda Willis said.
With fall arriving this week, this district is hoping that the work being done through the Honeywell Projects is finished as quickly as possible.