Local News

Heating system malfunctions close Durham elementary school, likely for weeks

Posted January 26, 2020 8:07 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2020 12:01 a.m. EST

— Morehead Montessori Magnet Elementary School in Durham is without heat in the middle of winter, and repairs could take weeks.

Classes will be moved while a malfunctioning heating system is repaired, the school said Sunday.

Starting Tuesday, fourth- and fifth-grade classes will be at Durham Public Schools’ Staff Development Center, at 2107 Hillandale Road. All other classes will be held at Eno Valley Elementary School at 117 Milton Road.

About 250 students are affected, the school said.

Durham Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson said the issues have led to two evacuations in January.

Tonya Delsoldato’s first-grader and third-grader will have classes at Eno Valley Elementary.

“They were just evacuated on the playground for about an hour, and then they’re like, ‘It’s fine, you can go back in,’” Delsoldato said. “And now we’re at this point.”

Julian Monk, operating officer at Durham Public Schools, said seven of the 11 heating units at Morehead Montessori are inoperable.

“We ordered the equipment that we need,” he said Monday. “In fact, we started repairs today until the rain started.”

Monk said the school’s heating units have a life expectancy of eight years but have been in place for nearly 12 years.

The school is in need of infrastructure repairs, he said.

“We’re going to continue to ask for the funding that’s necessary to make these types of repairs to all our school facilities,” Monk said.

Morehead Montessori packed a public meeting voicing their concerns about safety Monday evening.

Heating repairs are expected to be complete by the middle of February, but school leaders are waiting on clearance from Dominion Energy to allow students and staff back inside.

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