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School officials estimate GHS leak costs at $536K

January 7, 2019

GREENWICH — Costs associated with the major leak at the Greenwich High School Performing Arts Center that occurred in mid-December will total $536,000, Greenwich Public School officials estimate.

Three years and two months after the Performing Arts Center at GHS opened, the $46 million building had its first major equipment failure. A flexible connection in the piping for the heating system failed on Dec. 12, causing a flood that damaged the gallery of the GHS performance arts center as well as the gym and other adjacent rooms.

It was the same type of part that broke in April 2016, Greenwich Public Schools’ Director of Facilities Dan Watson said in an email Friday. The 2016 leak was determined to have been an installation error, but the cause of the December leak is still being investigated.

The district needs funds to cover the costs of the response to the flood, make repairs and get the facilities back in service, Greenwich Public Schools’ Chief Operations Officer Lorianne O’Donnell said in an agenda for the Representative Town Meeting later this month.

The Board of Education has submitted a claim to the insurance company, and is working closely with the town about covering the costs, O’Donnell said.

The leak prompted concern among some town officials as to whether the school board has a handle on routine maintenance at its buildings.

But the piping in the heating system is behind a wall, so facilities staff cannot easily access the parts, which Watson said ruled out a maintenance problem on the 3-year-old building as the reason for the failure.

“These parts are located within ceilings and are not in a serviceable area and require no operation or maintenance,” Watson said.

Officials closed off the performance center, forcing concerts to be held in other locations, and limited access to the gym for six to eight weeks.

Both the GHS boys and girls varsity basketball teams have played away games every week since the leak. But on Monday night, the Dann Gymnasium at Brunswick School took the spot as home court for the Cardinals as the boys basketball team hit the court.

The wrestling team has used Gym C, a smaller gym located next to the main gym, since the flood.

jo.kroeker@hearstmediact.com

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