Copyright 2018 Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)
STURBRIDGE — Tantasqua High School students are using its gym and locker room area for the first time since heating system pipes and the sprinkler system froze and burst during the winter break. On Tuesday, the Sturbridge Fire Department gave Tantasqua permission to use the gym and locker rooms again because the sprinkler system in those areas have been reactivated, Principal Michael Lucas said. However, the pool, weight rooms, main offices and guidance offices remain closed. These areas will not be open until work is completed and passes a final inspection by the Fire and Building Departments, Fire Lt John C. Marinelli said. Fire suppression/sprinkler systems must be brought into compliance
STURBRIDGE — Tantasqua High School students are using the school's gym and locker room area for the first time since heating system pipes and the sprinkler system froze and burst during the winter break in December.
"We have our gym back. We have our locker room back," said. "It's all system go for both PE classes and our athletic programs, so we're very excited."
On Tuesday, the Sturbridge Fire Department gave Tantasqua permission to use the gym and locker rooms again because the sprinkler system in those areas has been reactivated, Mr. Lucas said.
"We started having phys ed classes in there Tuesday morning and assigning kids lockers and getting everybody moved back to that part of the building," he said. "We are getting our PE teachers back in their offices and our athletic director. That will be finalized today (Wednesday)."
Athletic teams will also be able to practice and play games in the gym, Mr. Lucas said. The boys junior varsity and varsity basketball teams were slated to host Uxbridge in the gym Wednesday.
"We had our teams practice in there Tuesday afternoon for the first time," Mr. Lucas said. "The kids were very excited to be back in their home gym. It was awesome to see that. And we really feel good for our seniors that they get to play another game on their home court."
A day or so after Christmas, while students were on vacation, the main and backup circulator pumps for the school's heating system failed, causing the pipes to freeze around the heating coil.
While the gym and the locker rooms are open, the pool, weight rooms, main offices and guidance offices remain closed. Those areas will not be open until work is completed and passes a final inspection by the Fire and Building departments, Fire Lt. John C. Marinelli said.
Fire suppression/sprinkler systems must be brought into compliance with building and fire codes before areas can be occupied, Mr. Marinelli said.
"As with all of this construction project, it's ever evolving," Mr. Lucas said. "We don't have a definite timeline which can be frustrating. But we do have crews working every day on the heating system, the coils, maintenance and cleaning … It's a day-by-day process."
Since the disruption, the swim team has been holding its practices and meets at Monson High School and also using the Southbridge YMCA for practices. The cheerleading squad has also been practicing at the Southbridge Y, and Northbridge High School has hosted Tantasqua's away track meets, Mr. Lucas said.
Last week, the main office and guidance staff moved into trailers that are stationed behind the main foyer.
"The students deserve a lot of credit for handling this with class and character," Mr. Lucas said. "I cannot say enough about our student body. They are just awesome. They just roll with it and continue to be positive and so does our staff."
All students and visitors should still enter the building through the main foyer, as the exterior pool entrance doors will remain closed. People can only enter the gym through the main foyer, Mr. Lucas said.
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter