March 20, 2018


A power loss, a pipe and a school-community team

Jan. 8, 2018


It was a cold and stormy weekend. School was closed Friday, Jan. 5 due to the frigid, windy weather and subsequently dangerous roads. While children and faculty were not in the building, the potential for damage to Duanesburg Elementary was great when an area-wide power outage translated to no electricity and no heat to protect pipes and plumbing.

The power outage affecting the Duanesburg Elementary neigborhood Friday night into Saturday morning challenged DCS to keep pipes from freezing in an unheated school building. Director of Facilities Aanen Aanensen and facilities and maintenance staff member Dan Peacock worked at the school Friday overnight into Saturday to keep air flowing and pipes from freezing. They blocked fresh-air intake vents and other potential entry points for frigid outside air, drained what pipes they could to prevent freezing and strategically shut some doors and opened others.

Facilities and maintenance staff members Hank Eckert, Richard Klingbeil, Mike Mouheb and Jim Nesbitt joined in the effort to prevent damage, thaw pipes that had partially frozen and restart the heating system once power was restored. Aanensen, his staff and Business Official Jeff Rivenburg continued to watch the building's systems throughout the day.

Then a new challenge appeared on Sunday. A glitch in an older section of the elementary school's heating system controls led to a pipe's freezing in the ceiling near the gym. But not to fear: Members of a CYO basketball league who were using the gym came to the rescue.

They spotted the leak, found the valve above the ceiling tile and closed off the pipe, and then mopped up the floor. Disaster was averted again.

Had school been in session, DCS would have followed its emergency plans for release or closure and notifications to protect the safety of students, staff and community members while caring for the building.

Superintendent Frank Macri monitored the weekend's happenings and praised the district's employees and residents. "We greatly appreciate all that our staff and community members did to save our elementary school," he said. "Our facilities and maintenance staff are top-notch. On Sunday, if the CYO hadn't been present and jumped into action as they did, the school might have sustained significant damage, including to our new gym floor and addition.

"Our staff and those we serve in the community make a great team, and I am so proud to be working here in Duanesburg."