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Massena Central reopening Thursday; Ruptured water line repaired

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MASSENA - Massena Central School students had an unanticipated day off Wednesday after a ruptured water line at the high school forced school officials to close their buildings for the day.

But, Superintendent Roger B. Clough said late Wednesday afternoon, all of the schools will reopen for business today.

Mr. Clough said they had to close all of the district’s schools because the high school’s main kitchen, which prepares the meals served in the district’s five buildings, was affected by the ruptured water line. And preparing an alternate cold meal wasn’t feasible on Wednesday, he said.

“The district serves thousands of breakfasts and lunches weekly. We need bread, which we don’t have, to even do bologna or peanut butter sandwiches,” Mr. Clough said Wednesday prior to meeting with contractors to discuss repairing the line.

“We are considering serving sandwiches, but just finding the 500 loaves of bread we need is turning out to be a challenge—and then we have to find the sandwich fillings,” he said, pointing out that a heightened awareness about food allergies, especially peanut butter, limited what they could serve.”

In addition, Mr. Clough said, “We also would need the other fruit and vegetable components to make a lunch that meets the federal nutrition requirements.”

He said they had planned to keep the high school closed until water for sanitation and food preparation was fully restored. There was, however, a chance for the elementary and middle school to open on Thursday - even if the high school was closed - if they could make other arrangements for food service.

Those plans weren’t necessary though after repairs were made to the ruptured line Wednesday afternoon, meaning schools could open and regular meals could resume today.

“Because the break occurred in the crawl space beneath the school floor, contractors could easily access the coupling. The contractors have made necessary repairs, and we have completed final tests. We have followed the directives of the Department of Health to ensure the health and safety of all concerned,” he said.

Mr. Clough said maintenance personnel discovered the that the 6-inch water line serving the high school had ruptured at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday. The line was located near the former Central Administration Building wing of the high school.

“Our night cleaners do routine checks. There was water coming up about 10:45 last night,” he said.

The rupture flooded portions of the basement and forced staff to shut off all water to the building.

He said the line had been replaced last summer as part of the district’s capital project. It was still under warranty and was replaced by the contractor at no charge to the district.

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