During the 2015-2016 school year here at Penn, there have been four major pipes that burst causing minor flooding.  PNN reporters decided that it was time to talk to both the associate principal of operations, Russ Shaw, and head custodian, Kathy Reinhardt, about why Penn is having problems with its infrastructure. The four leaks that have occurred during this school year have all occurred in the hallway outside the custodial office.  During each flood, custodians have been able to stop the leakage before it caused any major structural damage to the school.

The pipes that keep bursting, “…all have the same function, although they vary in size.  They carry the cool water for cooling the building.  They are not always cooling the building, but they always have water in them” says Shaw.

When asked why leaks keep occurring, Shaw goes on to say,”stress on one of the pipes, and maybe some fatigue in the material [is causing the leaks].”  He also commented on the most recent bursts, “The last two leaks were from bolts being loose at a flan-gent connection, where two different pipes connect, so those bolts were simply tightened and that took care of the problem.”

Even though Penn has experienced some trouble with leaks, head custodian, Kathy Reinhardt, says that it is nothing to be worried about, “But considering all the pipes, all the flanges, all the pressure that goes through this building, we don’t have that many leaks really.”

To repair the heating and cooling pipes that keep bursting, Penn will be using 550,000 dollars out of a 1,957,000 dollar grant the school is receiving.  The money that is not going towards heating and cooling pipes will be used for other maintenance and needs around the building.

Although Penn has experienced multiple leaks over the past few years, it is a 58 year old building and infrastructure malfunctions can be expected, therefore the natural wear and tear that occurs at Penn is nothing to be worried about.




By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to www.massmediastudies.net.