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Pipe leak delayed Oneonta schools start time Monday

Feb. 12—Oneonta city schools across the district experienced a two-hour delayed opening Monday, Feb. 12 after a leaky pipe led to some minor flooding through the east wing of Oneonta High School.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Brindley said Monday that a soldering joint failed on a pipe in the heating system in a social studies classroom — not a burst pipe which was the reason given on the school district website.

He said the leak happened around 3 a.m. and was discovered right away, as the steam triggered the fire alarm system which automatically notifies school district officials.

The heating system was installed 20 to 30 years ago, he said. The school uses baseboard heating, so all of the leaked water was confined to the floor.

"Our maintenance and custodial team did an amazing job getting opened up and the heat up and running again," Brindley said. "We needed two hours to get things cleaned up and back to the right temperature. The cleanup was lengthy, but I think the kids coming in at 9:30 [a.m.] didn't realize anything was wrong today."

Due to the leak, the entire district was put on a two-hour delay in order to mitigate the impact to transportation.

The elementary schools have a different start time from the middle and high schools, which are housed in one building and start the school day at the same time, so the district couldn't delay just the high school and not the middle school, Brindley said.

The delay affected the elementary extended day program, and the high school didn't send morning BOCES students to BOCES. All-day BOCES students were picked up two hours after their normal pick-up time. Afternoon BOCES students left the high school at the normal time.

Brindley said that leaks of this nature are hard to prevent because they are hard to diagnose by a sight inspection. Often, the school doesn't know there's a problem until it happens.

School officials may have another call to make about a delayed opening Tuesday with an anticipated snowstorm in the weather forecast.

"We'll see what happens tomorrow," Brindley said.