Local News

Raleigh high school's high-pitched noise irks neighbors

Posted September 27, 2011
Updated September 28, 2011

— 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.

Enloe HVAC annoys neighbors Enloe HVAC annoys neighbors

"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.


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  • archangel44369 Sep 28, 2011

    To schooldoctor:
    Yes you are correct, we have a few of those in the Dept called, "Facilities, Design and Construction...and yes these engineers oversee the whole thing and are the ones responsible for the choosing of equipment like the HVAC system.

    Engineers, if they can draw it on paper, then there's no reason it can't be made to work..LOL

  • schooldoctor Sep 28, 2011

    To archangel44369: I work for a school system and have the responsibility for installing such equipment and you are exactly correct except I think you mean engineer instead of architect. Engineers design and specify equipment and architects design facilities.

  • archangel44369 Sep 28, 2011

    To Rebelyell55:
    That's not how it works...
    The architect is tasked by the County to design to whole thing..
    Then after meeting after meeting, a Big general contractor wins the bid to install such equipment as specified by the County, their hired architect and project managers overseeing the construction. The HVAC contractor, the lowest bidder, submits to install such specified equipment...
    If you wanna nail someone...go after the County because the final line is drawn by them, they are the ones spending our money, the contractors are only being paid to contruct/install what they have agreed to do at such and such price.

    Stop blaming the little guy!

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 28, 2011

    I agree, I would be looking at the contractor or installer to fix this thing and be costing the county anything...

  • LuvLivingInCary Sep 28, 2011

    i bet's it's a payne to live near that...

    on a serious side they should go after the installer. they should not be installing systems that do no meet city ordinances.

    oh and by the way, all the cary bashers think that only cary knows how to complain about such things....it's raleigh.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Sep 28, 2011

    It seems the city is handling it, although slowly. The noise ordinance is there for a reason. Noise is measurable, so if it's over the limit, WCPSS has to fix it. Maybe in the mean time they should shut it down at night.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 28, 2011

    Do you want CHEAP schools or not?!

  • Just another bad guy Sep 28, 2011

    Seems like copper thieves could help end the noise.

  • All the People Sep 28, 2011

    I have been to Enloe on numerous occasions from all of my experiences the unit is not even audible in the building which is directly adjacent to it (the new building). Additionally, the unit is easily over 100 yards from the nearest house with a fairly substantial tree line between them, so in all honesty this seems to be much ado about nothing.

  • Follow_The_Money27617 Sep 28, 2011

    Quote from ProzacDispenser: "bet it sounds like a trane."

    Oh, Carrier joke somewhere else!
    September 28, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    LOL thats was Goodman