Local News

More than 20 Wake County schools experienced heating issues Tuesday

Posted January 2, 2018 11:31 a.m. EST
Updated January 2, 2018 8:08 p.m. EST

— Extreme cold on Tuesday led to two-hour delays for many districts Tuesday morning, but some were forced to close early when heating systems malfunctioned.

Officials at Green Hope High School sent students home at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday when the building started having heating issues.

"The whole announcement, everyone was talking because they were excited that we got out," student Kaylee Higgenbotham said.

According to Lisa Luten, the communications director for the Wake County Public School System, some of the school's boilers were down and the climate was not suitable for students, staff and faculty. Crews are headed to the school to make repairs.

Jeff Higginbotham had just dropped his daughter off when he got the call.

"I just got here at 10:15 a.m. because she doesn't have first period, so she just got here a few minutes ago," he said.

Across town at Hopewell Academy in Cary, the cold also caused early dismissal when frozen pipes cut off access to running water.The school's headmaster, Kenneth Branch, said the building has a history of pipes freezing when temperatures drop, but the precautions taken by school officials didn't work.

"Someone came into my office and said 'Dr. Branch, there is water gushing through the boy's restroom ceiling and the girl's restroom ceiling,'" he said.

Hopewell Academy will reopen for students Wednesday, Branch said.

In total, a spokeswoman for Wake County schools said 24 buildings experienced issues as a result of the cold Tuesday, including:

  • Apex Middle - Experienced an issue with water supply that affected the boiler unit when a pipe burst under the building. Impacted students were relocated to alternative learning spaces. Repairs in progress.
  • Barwell Road Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Carpenter Elementary - HVAC issues.
  • Cary High - One building was without sufficient heat. Three classrooms were relocated.
  • Carver Elementary - Intermittent issues with HVAC unit. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Cedar Fork Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Daniels Middle - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Davis Drive Middle - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • East Cary Middle - Minor HVAC issues.
  • East Wake Middle - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Fuquay-Varina Middle - - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Hodge Road Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Green Hope High - Significant HVAC issues. Five boiler units failed. School dismissed at 11:30 AM.
  • Middle Creek Elementary - Minor plumbing issues.
  • Mills Park Middle - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Moore Square Middle - - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Timber Drive Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Turner Creek Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • Salem Elementary- Minor HVAC issues.
  • Underwood Elementary- Minor HVAC issues.
  • Walnut Creek Elementary - Minor HVAC issues. Repairs completed by early afternoon.
  • West Lake Elementary - Minor HVAC issues.
  • White Oak Elementary - HVAC issues.
  • Willow Springs Elementary- Minor HVAC issues.

All schools are expected to be ready for students by Wednesday, with the exception of Apex Middle School, which will be closed.