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Broken pipes flood floor at Ptarmigan Hall over break

By ERICA ISAAC and HALEY OKTOYAK, staff writers

There was a minor flood at Ptarmigan Hall over winter break. Galena had been having cold weather, roughly 45 degrees below zero, when the pipes broke, said Jim Merriner, Galena schools superintendent.

The water pipe broke Saturday, January 4, and the problem was found the next day. On Sunday, school maintenance workers brought in 15 heaters.

“By the time the students came, the smell was gone,” said Mr. Merriner.

The school spent $12,000 on two Flagro Fresh air heaters. Each heater produces about 400,000 BTU. These heaters would spread fresh heated air through the hallways, he said.

Some of the problems come from the amount water going to the dorms.

Ptarmigan Hall is supposed to be getting 148 gallons per minute (GPM), according to engineers, but they’re getting about 40 GPM. “We are getting about one-quarter of what engineers said we would get of GPM,” said Mr. Merriner.

Keeping heat in the building is a priority. Mr. Merriner said the school spent about $2.2 million two years ago on triple-pane windows.

The school is designing and hoping to install a “booster” pump on the heat loop system to increase the GPM to Ptarmigan Hall, he said.

The place where it was first flooded was in the laundry room. The water pipe broke between the kitchen and laundry room area. Fixing the damage cost about $90,000.

Mr. Merriner said he apologizes to the students for having to walk on a cold floor, and the school is trying to address the problem.

“Thank you to Doug Smith and maintenance crew,” he said.