William Kelley Schools should have working heating system by Monday

Still no heating system for Silver Bay school

William Kelley School is in the process of replacing their boilers and should have a working heating system by the time class resumes on Monday.

With ongoing construction, William Kelley School in Silver Bay has had issues controlling the temperature for most of the building this school year.

“William Kelly School has been awesome until this year and this year it has been anything but a good experience,” said parent Jonathan Henschel. “My teenagers are straight A, A-plus students. They don’t get into trouble. They’re very gifted and talented. My son performs piano at the school for concerts on occasion. These are the good kids, and they’re not having a good year. This school year started with the school being way too hot because of the construction project. There was no airflow and they were miserable. Fast-forward a few weeks, and they are freezing in the schools.”

The school has not had a working heat system all school year.

“Our original heat system was one large boiler, one small boiler. We knew the small boiler was no longer operational- that was already in the project to be replaced,” said Principal Dan Johnson. “But the large boiler was, we thought, still operational. When you get into construction projects with the engineers that come on board, you look at that kind of stuff and they found that that needed a lot of work to bring it up to an operational level. It just wasn’t cost-effective to do that, so we were looking long term.”

The school decided to replace the large boiler with two smaller boilers, ordering the system mid-summer.

“We put the order in and of course with everything else going on with supply chain and getting things here, those boilers didn’t arrive on site until mid-October,” Johnson explained.

Once the boilers arrived at the school, another issue was discovered.

“We were anticipating a pretty quick install and getting them fired up. What happened in between there is that these boilers require a special venting system exhaust system that was custom-made,” explained Johnson. “Once they’re placed, they do all the measurements, get those pipes made. Our contractor will work over the weekend, to ensure that we have heat starting on Monday.”

Once the heat is working, it could take a few days to warm the building.

“We have some temporary heat going in the building right now that’s blowing heat down the hallways. We leave the classroom doors open at night,” said Johnson. “Most of our building is sitting at that 64 to 65 degree temperature. We do have some cool spots that probably dip down into that upper fifties. But for the most part, where the students are throughout the day are in those warmer temperatures.”

Henschel disagrees with this description of school temperatures, saying that the upper floors may be around 65 degrees, but certain areas on the lower level are much cooler.

“There are classes in the auditorium, like band classes, and there is absolutely zero heat in there. It’s so cold in there,” said Henschel. “There was a recent concert during school hours, and I’m a parent, I like to watch my children perform. We weren’t invited. They said it’s an in-school thing, but we weren’t invited because there was no heat. So they’re performing in an ice cold room with no heat, and it’s been like that all year.”

The school has been taking steps to ensure safe classroom conditions with accommodations for those sensitive to cooler temperatures. Students are allowed to wear jackets, blankets, hats, and gloves if needed.

According to Principal Johnson, there are some areas that have their own heat. The concession stand, which Johnson describes as “more of a flex area” has its own furnace and can accommodate 40 students. Students can work there if needed, keeping up with their work on Google classroom.

Even though the boiler system is expected to be working Monday, the school plans on keeping the temporary heating system set up until they are sure the new boilers are working properly.