Raleigh high school's high-pitched noise irks neighbors
Posted September 27, 2011
Updated September 28, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Fall is the time of year many people like to open their windows and let in cool air, but one Raleigh neighborhood says they can't do that due to the loud noise coming from Enloe High School’s new air-conditioning unit.
Neighbors in Longview Park say the noise, which sounds like a very loud horn, has been bothering them for almost two years. The noise can last for hours at a time, even overnight, neighbors said. They have called the school, police and city inspectors trying to get the noise muffled.
"It’s a constant horn, high-pitched," said Sheri Cassidy, who lives on Bertie Drive across from the school, at 128 Clarendon Crescent. “One of the things I noticed, maybe starting in June, is that I now have a constant ringing in my ears."
The Rickards family doesn't play outside with their 1½-year-old son, Jett, when the unit is on.
"The noise, it’s just too loud and too constant," said Joel Rickards. “We do worry about his hearing. He was three months premature, and he had to take a bunch of hearing tests.”
City inspectors say the noise is at or just above the levels allowed by ordinance. They say the high-pitched noise should be corrected and have asked the school to fix it. Enloe officials say they have tried to adjust the system and put a wooden fence around the unit hoping to block the noise.
“There is a sound-absorbing blanket being custom manufactured to fit over this piece of equipment that is being made right now, with installation hopefully in a week or two,” said Wake County Public School System spokesman Greg Thomas.
After months of waiting, neighbors say any improvements will be welcome.
“I’m looking forward to that, and I’m hopeful it will happen,” Cassidy said.
Enloe High held a meeting Wednesday to update neighbors on plans to fix the problem. School leaders said they plan to change the oil, install a sound blanket on the machine and do follow-up analysis.
"The facilities department wants to get to the bottom of this. They even had to drill down to figure out what the problem was to try to fix it, and we want to get it fixed as much as the neighbors do," Thomas said.
City inspectors said they're going out in the next few days to take new noise measurements during the day and night.
“We’re doing another reading this week in next couple days, and then we’ll go to (Enloe High) and give them a deadline to fix it,” said Kurt Willis, a city construction inspection administrator.