Enfield school reopens after power failure

Posted Feb. 03, 2009, at 10:01 p.m.

ENFIELD, Maine— Work crews’ diligent efforts and many hours of labor since Saturday allowed Enfield Station School to reopen Tuesday after a malfunctioning water system forced its closure for a day, the school’s principal said.

The kindergarten through fifth grade school closed Monday after a three-phase cable that powers the water pump in the school’s well shorted out in the early afternoon Friday, said John Neel, chairman of the SAD 31 board of directors.

Workers from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., a privately-hired power-line installation company and local electrician Russ Banks installed two utility poles to run power to the well, Principal Laura Cook said.

“They did a wonderful job,” Cook said Tuesday. “They could not pull the wire out from under the ground, so they had to go in above-ground. A lot of parents who dropped their children off today couldn’t tell the difference.”

Banks, whose children attend Enfield Station, worked especially hard. He worked over the weekend and until 9 p.m. Monday ensuring that the connection was flawlessly installed and that everything worked properly, Cook said.

Enfield Station students will not have to make up the lost school day, Cook said. Under state law, more than 50 percent of a school administrative district’s population must miss school for a day before that day has to be rescheduled.

Hichborn Middle School and the interconnected Penobscot Valley High School, both of Howland, were operating Monday.

The short didn’t interrupt school Friday, but students and school staff were prevented from flushing toilets or drinking water. The mishap occurred late enough in the day so that no students needed to go home early.

Located on what was the former Cole Farm in Enfield, the kindergarten through fifth grade school opened in January 1994 as a consolidation of three district elementary schools — Ring Street in Howland, Curtis School in West Enfield and the Burlington School in Burlington, according to msad31.com.

It is the youngest and most modern school in the Howland-Lee-Lincoln and Katahdin regions. It serves about 300 students from SAD 31, which serves Burlington, Edinburg, Enfield, Howland, Maxfield and Passadumkeag.

Cook did not know how much the repair work would cost. Jerry White, SAD 31’s superintendent, was out of state Tuesday, school officials said.

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