LOWELL, Mass. – For months, students at Lowell High School have been dealing with chilly conditions inside the building. It got so bad that school was canceled on Wednesday, the day ahead of a major nor’easter.
However, Wednesday night school and city leaders announced a fan to fix the problem and issued an apology to parents.
“We can't just keep putting Band-Aids on the heating systems,” City Manager Kevin Murphy said.
The heating issue has led to broken pipes. Flooded floors and classrooms so cold they didn’t meet state standards.
“We were finding levels at 55, some at 48 but kids were asked to go somewhere else,” Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui said.
Repairs are expected to start immediately though, after the city was given special permission to bypass the public bidding process.
“Sometimes people say why didn't you do it before but before this weather hit, this unbelievably cold weather, DPW could keep up with it,” Mayor William Samaras said.
Work on the heating system and software will be done with no expense spared.
“This is such a critical situation that we plan to spend whatever money we have available to resolve those issues,” Murphy said.
The hope is that these changes will last until the city’s ready to open a new high school in the coming years.
“We might still get some areas without heat but as long as we can shuffle students to areas with heat we will do that,” Khelfaoui
The high school isn’t the only city building with heating issues. Two fire stations, the public library and other middle and elementary schools are also affected. Those repairs will be made by city employees, however, not contractors.
The whole heating repair project is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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