Cold weather delays school, closes Hamilton Middle School

In this photo from Dec. 8, 2016, Hamilton Middle School Assistant Principal Kelley Ray stands with newly installed Lochinvar heating units. Hamilton Middle was closed Tuesday due to heating issues amid bitterly cold temperatures. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — Bitterly cold temperatures Tuesday prompted Wood County Schools to call for a two-hour delay and Hamilton Middle School was closed due to heating issues.

Wood County Schools and Belpre City Schools also are on a two-hour delay today.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling, who oversees facilities for Wood County Schools, said morning temperatures were in the low single-digits and the wind chill was below 0.

“The two-hour delay was due to low temperatures,” he said. “Also, the secondary roads are still covered in snow and ice in some cases, so we wanted to be running our buses in daylight rather than darkness.”

Hamilton Middle School was closed around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after the school’s heating system failed to turn on, causing multiple issues for the building.

“It is a new system, and somehow the system got confused and did not call for the heat to turn on,” Fling said. “We’d not had any problems with it up to this point.”

In November of 2016, the district replaced two outdated boiler systems at Hamilton after large cracks and burn marks were found in a large unit during a maintenance inspection.

The old system was replaced by five new Lochinvar high-efficiency boilers at a cost of $183,000.

Fling said the one-year warranty on the units had expired, but maintenance crews determined the problem was an intake/exhaust issue and not a problem with the boilers themselves.

Hamilton was not the only school to have issues stemming from the freezing temperatures. Edison Middle School had a frozen water line, and Fling said crews were working on heating issues in rooms at schools throughout the county, though none were building-wide issues like at Hamilton.

“We’re stretched pretty thin,” Fling said.

Wirt County Schools was closed Tuesday due to frigid temperatures and a water-main break, according to an announcement from the school system. Wirt County Schools also announced Tuesday it will be on a two-hour delay today.

Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing all week, with lows dropping into the single digits and negatives later in the week.