Broken water line that closed Massena schools was new last summer
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 3:10 pm

MASSENA – The water line break that forced the closure of Massena schools today had been replaced just last summer.

The break was at the high school, which houses the kitchen that makes meals for all five school buildings.

The break in the six-inch line was discovered by maintenance personnel at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday. The rupture flooded portions of the basement and forced staff to shut off all water to the building.

Because the high school cafeteria prepares all of the meals served in the district’s five school buildings, officials said they had no choice but to close school for the entire district.

The high school will remain closed until water for sanitation and food preparation are fully restored, a statement from Massena Central said. School officials are working with contractors and the Department of Health to determine how quickly repairs can be safely completed.

The elementary and middle schools may open on Thursday, regardless of the conditions at high school, if the district can make other arrangements for food service.

“The district serves thousands of breakfasts and lunches daily,” said Superintendent Roger B. Clough, II.

“We are considering serving sandwiches, but just finding the 500 to 600 loaves of bread we need is turning out to be a challenge—and then we have to find the sandwich fillings. Remember that heightened awareness about food allergies, especially peanut butter, really limits what we can serve. We also would need the other fruit and vegetable components to make a lunch that meets the federal nutrition requirements,” Clough said.

Clough hopes to have a firm answer this afternoon concerning the repairs and how soon the schools will reopen.

The water line is still under warranty and will be replaced by the contractor at no charge to the district, the statement said.