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Classes still cancelled due to cold at Limestone Community School

CARIBOU, Maine — The unyielding cold contributed to issues that caused administrators to close both Caribou High School and Limestone Community School on Monday. While classes resumed in Caribou Tuesday, students still were kept away from the Limestone facility and may not be able to return Wednesday.

The unyielding cold contributed to issues that caused administrators to close both Caribou High School and Limestone Community School on Monday. While classes resumed in Caribou Tuesday, students still were kept away from the Limestone facility but were expected to return Wednesday.

RSU 39 Superintendent Tim Doak said that while Caribou High School’s wood chip boiler and oil furnace both were out of order Monday, custodians were able to fix the oil furnace by 4 p.m. Monday so students could return on Tuesday.

He said a gasket in the oil furnace let go, which led to flooding in the boiler room at about 6 a.m. Monday morning. Doak said Tuesday that custodians continued their efforts to repair the wood chip boiler, which has been down for almost two weeks.

While only Caribou’s boiler room flooded Monday, Limestone Community School saw flooding in the library, six classrooms, and the auditorium due to heating coils that froze and broke over the weekend.

“Four coils broke on the west wall of the building, where they were directly hit by the cold wind,” Doak said, adding that the east side of the building doesn’t have “any problems at all.”

The superintendent said Limestone’s library was flooded on Saturday and that a crew was able to mop up over the weekend and heat up the building to be ready for Monday, but then “something happened between midnight and [Monday morning]” to cause more flooding in the school.

After that was handled, an additional leak occurred in Limestone’s cafeteria to cause cancellation of school on Tuesday. However, Doak said teachers did attend school and went into the affected classrooms to salvage what they could.

RSU 39 already has made plans through its insurance company to replace damaged items in Limestone Community School, including rugs, books, and computers.

Doak said Tuesday afternoon that while two rooms will not be used, school will be open for students on Wednesday.

“There is a possibility that we may not have heat in the cafeteria tomorrow,” Doak said, adding that, if this is the case, students will pick up food in the cafeteria and eat in the gym.

He said on Tuesday that he believes this winter’s unusually cold temperatures have played a role in these issues.

“We’ve had 15 straight days of below zero weather,” he said. “I think we might get some reprieve this week but I don’t like the idea of rain coming. I’ve been told that a sudden change in temperature is bad for the pipes. It’s not good.”

Doak complimented the custodial staff’s hard work to fix these issues in both buildings.

“It’s commendable what our staff is doing,” he said. “They’ve been working through the night. They need some sleep.”

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