Archive for Friday, February 28, 2014

Baldwin school district to seek compensation for faulty boiler installation

February 28, 2014

The source of a boiler gas leak that required the one-day closure of the Baldwin school district’s newest school has been found and temporary repairs made.

Baldwin Elementary School Primary School, which first opened in August 2011, was forced to close Jan. 24 and its students sent to the Intermediate School because a gas leak set off a carbon monoxide alarm. Superintendent Paul Dorathy said students were never endangered by the minute quantities of the deadly gas emitted and the leak was confined to the boiler room. The amount of gas leaked was less than that found in homes with gas stoves, he said.

Nonetheless, he agreed with Kansas Gas Service’s call for the heating system to be shut off with the gas leak, which caused the one-day closure of the school.

The problem was traced to an improperly installed flue in the boiler system, Dorathy said. It was found the flues were not suspended properly and the lines to it were too small, he said.

The Primary Center’s heating system has two boilers for redundancy, Dorathy said. The district has made temporary repairs to one boiler, which is now heating the school, he said. That has not changed the quality of heat in the building because under normal operations one boiler runs for a month and then is switched off while the other boiler is put in service.

The district’s current focus is getting a permanent fix to the problem, Dorathy said. Once that is done, the district would look into seeking compensation from those responsible for installing the boilers. That would include Manning Construction, the project manager for the Primary Center’s construction and other projects in the 2008 bond issue, he said.

The district has already sought compensation from Manning Construction and subcontractors for the faulty installation of the running track north of Baldwin High School. Dorathy said the track was 6 inches narrower than regulation, resulting in the sixth and outside lane being that much too narrow.

Dorathy told the USD 348 Board of Education this month that the district’s claim for compensation or remedy to the track was going nowhere short of more aggressive legal action. The board agreed to have its new legal representative, Stevens & Brand of Lawrence, take charge of the matter with the expectation a claim would be filed in court.

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