After water break, Thornton projects 9-day restoration at Toll Gate

By TYGER ALLEN
Posted 2/11/20

By TYGER ALLEN A rusted metal plug no larger than a silver dollar and costing less than $6 has forced the closure of Toll Gate High School for the week. At about 8 a.m. Saturday the plug burst from a water valve inside a utility well in the floor of the

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

After water break, Thornton projects 9-day restoration at Toll Gate

Posted

A rusted metal plug no larger than a silver dollar and costing less than $6 has forced the closure of Toll Gate High School for the week.

At about 8 a.m. Saturday the plug burst from a water valve inside a utility well in the floor of the Toll Gate High School cafeteria. Water rushed through the hallways into classrooms and restrooms on the first floor. It spilled down to the shop rooms and into the auditorium hallway.

The water ran for about 30 minutes before it was noticed by a custodian who had been in the upper section of the school. It took an additional hour before the Kent County water authority shut off the supply, according to Kevin Oliver, Warwick Public Schools Maintenance & Custodial Supervisor. Warwick Fire Department trucks pumped water from the building. Crews from the Department of Public Works also assisted in the cleanup.

“I commend the excellent work of my team, including Public Works, Public Safety, our School Department, and in particular, our Water Division, whose quick action prevented even more damage,” Mayor Joseph J. Solomon said in a statement. “The cause of [the] leak at Toll Gate High School was determined early Saturday morning by a vigilant Water Division employee, who swiftly fixed the problem.”

By Saturday afternoon, the water had been pushed out the doors and mopped up. As of Monday, fans and a thin plastic tubing air ventilation system continued to dry the area.

Superintendent Philip Thornton is looking at a nine-day window to restore normal operations.

“I realize this is a major inconvenience for parents,” Mayor Solomon said. “But the safety of our kids is my priority, and we have to ensure that the building is safe and clean for our students.”

Until the repairs are made and the air inside the school has been confirmed as safe, no classes will be held inside the building.

“We will not let anyone in until it’s been air tested and approved,” Oliver said.

But while classes won’t meet inside the building, Thornton said teachers have the ability to host classes online. He said that because each student has a Google Chromebook, students and teachers still have the ability to communicate and carry on with schoolwork. As the Toll Gate cafeteria is used by the adjoining Warwick Area Career and Technical Center and some students also have classes in Toll Gate, the center is also closed.

“We can work on Google Classroom,” Thornton said regarding a short-term replacement.

As of Monday it had not been determined whether the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) will allow those online days to count toward the required total of school days. RIDE requires 180 days and Toll Gate’s academic calendar lists June 16 as the final day of classes. But depending on RIDE’s ruling, that date may change. 

RIDE Communications Director Meg Geoghegan said that the school has not submitted their waiver request as of Monday, but expect to have it soon and send a response later this week.

Toll Gate has “President’s Day Break” listed for the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so if everything is restored, there may be only five days of missed class — all depending on RIDE’s decision.

When the plug burst, a stream one to two inches deep ran through the cafeteria and auditorium hallway. Facilities Maintenance and Operations Assistant Manager for Warwick Schools, Donna Higgins, said that there were no issues in the auditorium itself other than wet carpeting. As the hallway floor is pitched slightly toward the outside doors, much of the water ran out of that section of the school, which was built in 1992 — 20 years after the rest of the school opened.

“We literally had to open up the doors to relieve the water,” Higgins said.

The older section of the school won’t be an easy fix. The water lifted asbestos tiles in the hallway and classroom that will now require removal and replacement.

Oliver said that the cafeteria and auditorium hallway are not “hot”, meaning they will not need to be replaced immediately, but instead will be done in the summer. Some hallway tiles by the classrooms, however, will need to be replaced during the nine days. 

“Some of the flooring in the hallways and the classrooms is original to the building. It’s three percent asbestos [in] either tile or glue. So once it’s loose, we can’t leave it, we must remove it. So that’s the plan,” Thornton said.

Oliver said that the school is using a company named Single Source to help with water removal. The Warwick company specializes in disaster recovery. Some sheetrock where the wall meets the floor needed to be cut out as well and will need to be replaced.

As of Monday, Oliver said that they do not know how much it will cost to repair the school, but will know when they receive the damage assessment from Single Source.

“Once we dry the area, the next step is to look at the damage in terms of equipment, instruments and also the facility itself,” Thornton said.

Anthony Ferrucci, Warwick Public Schools Executive Director of Finance and Operations, said that the cost of repairs will be covered by the school’s insurance and expects to know the exact cost within the next few days.

Comments

29 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
bill123

So why did the plug come off ? We need a picture of what the “rusted plug” was attached to. There’s nothing wrong with the plug as shown. A little surface rust. Threads look intact, with teflon tape wrapped around. This portends to be another city hall annex story, with a mysterious pipe leak, and building still not occupied after two years.

Tuesday, February 11
Dexter

Bill, polish up that tin foil hat buddy.... maybe it was aliens

Tuesday, February 11
John Simoneau

Mr Mayor and Superintendent, how about this. If you can miss school for 5 days, and teach kids at home now because everyone has chromebooks, and google education, let's cut all unneeded teachers, transportation, sports, meals, books, pensions, and all other current mandatory requirements, and teach 180 days with kids at home!

I vote for that to happen immediately, at all high schools as a trial. Them spread it to Middle schools, and eventually elementary schools. Sell all buildings, etc. WE COULD SAVE MILLIONS ANNUALLY, AND CUT TAXES FOR A CHANGE!

Tuesday, February 11
Tax paying parent

John, you can't be serious...its obviously just a bandaid for a very short period of time and not a long term solution. Its not ideal but its a workaround while the situation is taken care of. Do you ever have anything positive to say? You would be happy with all schools closing and students getting no education at all if meant your taxes went down....so selfish and short sighted. Do you not have kids or grandkids? Or you just don't care about them?

I think your sole purpose on this site is to cause drama and get yourself attention. Get a hobby.

Next up, John challenges me to a fight while calling me a coward.

Tuesday, February 11
John Simoneau

The only reason they don't teach this way now is to save jobs for the union parasites getting rich. Someday, this will be the way it's done and the children that want to learn will learn more, and those that don't won't. You have your opinion, which is clearly wrong, and I have mine. That's what makes this Country great. Most parents love the schoolhouse learning system so they have a babysitter while they work, or they stay home and watch soap operas. There kids were just a bad end to a good night, so let society raise them! Enjoy the status quo while obese American kids drop lower and lower in world education levels.

Wednesday, February 12
perky

this is how the city stays on top of things

Wednesday, February 12
justanidiot

john, it is the way things should be taught. the future is not a bunch of drones heading off to a factory or office. people will be working remotely on projects and have no need to commute, have an office, etc. time for warwick to lead this new education method and put out prepared kids for the future.

Wednesday, February 12
John Simoneau

They won't do it because union jobs affected, even if the right thing to do for the kids, State, and Countries future. All about political power in RI, and we know who has that in Warwick, and RI.

Wednesday, February 12
John Stark

John,

I'm assuming your suggestion is, in part, tongue in cheek. But it does beget the question: What it the magic of 180 if 175 will not impact measurable outcomes by the end of the year? Or 170, or 160? And what is the method being used to stick with 180, other than 'the state says so'.

Wednesday, February 12
John Simoneau

John Stark

Good question. I guess 180 is a State requirement, that is why they have to get a waiver. I assume, it's like other things RI does .... reason .... because we've always done it that way. Everything else then is then controlled by that arbitrary number.ie: contracts, pay, budgets, etc. The public school system is broken in Warwick, RI, and every State in America. As long as Unions control the weak POLITICIANS nothing will change. EVERYTHING they do is all about reelection AND nothing else matters. We will all be speaking Chinese, or annihilated by nukes, soon anyway. The only way we could beat them now is by nukes. Once China, North Korea, Iran, Russia all unite and attack .. USA will no longer exist. Our obese, lazy, dumb, snowflake society that we are creating will never win anything again. Keep voting Democrats in, and it will happen sooner rather than later....

GO TRUMP .... LMFAO

Wednesday, February 12
John Simoneau

The fact that they immediately asked for a waiver, instead of just making up the days, proves that it has nothing to do with educating the kids. It's all about the adults.... and unions!

Wednesday, February 12
BeaconCommenter

There is a community forum tonight at Pilgrim High School discussing the future of Warwick Schools. Maybe instead of whining on Facebook and the Beacon comment page, all the concerned citizens should attend the event tonight and have their voice heard?

Wednesday, February 12
Fed up

And when is this community forum? Time?? And why wasnt it advertised?

Wednesday, February 12
BeaconCommenter

http://www.warwickonline.com/stories/teams-help-define-future-high-schools,151039?

http://www.warwickonline.com/stories/help-shape-our-citys-future,151125?

It's on the school department to get the word out more

Wednesday, February 12
John Simoneau

It will no doubt be like a City Council meeting. You give them the facts, and they do what they want to get reelected with UNION help.

All for show, and TO GET MORE OF OUR DOUGH !

Wednesday, February 12
Janet Chapman

My husband and I, along with our two children moved to Warwick last year, and our experience with the school system has been extremely positive. Our children are thriving, their teachers are caring and dedicated, and everything about their education has been positive.

However, I'm seriously concerned about some of the comments, particularly those of Mr. Simoneau. I must ask you sir, do you have children in the Warwick school system, and if so, why are you so negative in all your comments? The Warwick school system provides numerous opportunities for parents to be involved in their children's education, and if you're so unhappy with the quality of your children's education, you might want to join the local PTO to voice your concerns instead of utilizing an internet message board.

Wednesday, February 12
To Janet...

Thank you for coming on here and expressing your positive experiences with the school system. I agree there is a lot of negativity, and I have criticized the city many times as well. May I ask what state you moved from?

The Warwick Beacon needs a new online comment service such as Disqus which I think would help the discourse on this website. With that said, I personally would never identify myself anywhere on social media if I participated in social media... which I don't.

Wednesday, February 12
John Simoneau

Ms Chapman

Been here 37 years. My kids all went through Warwick public schools. It's called free speech in America, and we all have the right to our experiences and opinions drawn from them. I'm glad you're happy with the system. I say to you, good luck, and God bless. Hope this message doesn't concern you? One person's assessment of negative is another's reality. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 12
Janet Chapman

My family relocated to Warwick from just outside Philadelphia, and once again, our experience with the Warwick school system has been nothing but positive. Our move was due to a new job oppportunity for my husband, and after over one year in Warwick , we have no regrets whatsoever.

And to Mr. Simoneau, I'm sorry your experience with the schools has not been a positive one. And in regard to your comments, my husband and I do not use the word "parasites" to describe our children's teachers, we do not sit at home all day watching soap operas (my husband and I both have good jobs), and our children were not a "bad end to a good night", as you mentioned in your crude remarks.

Once again, our experience so far in Warwick has been a very good one, despite the complaints and insults of Mr. Simoneau.

Thursday, February 13
John Simoneau

Ms Chapman

You have a long way to go, and alot to learn. Good luck.

Thursday, February 13
justanidiot

ms chapman just wait until the next labor dispute and work to rule. then you will see the true colors of the teachers. no field trips. no after hours events. no open houses. just reading riting and rithmatic . you will see teachers stop worrying about education and the students and about their bottom line. if you can get them to monitor their class and not hang in the hallway griping.

Thursday, February 13
Patient Man

Janet Chapman,

Glad you're enjoying your time in Warwick & are happy with the schools.

Thursday, February 13
Yuck

John do your kids know they were just a "bad end to a good night"? What a horrible thing to say about your own children. No wonder why they became such pillars of society lol

Thursday, February 13
RISchadenfreude

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost..."

Friday, February 14
John Simoneau

Yuck ..... Learn how to read. I didn't say my kids, who are all great. I probably was talking about yours .... since you can't use your real name to stand behind what you have to say about others kids ...

You are just another COWARD ....

Friday, February 14
Billy T

To "yuck"-you have to remember, Johnny Pajamas was fired from the Providence Police Department for insubordination, racism, and sexual harassment, among his many infractions. It's no surprise he continues his disgusting behavior on the internet.

Saturday, February 15
John Simoneau

Billy T .... COWARD

Same old slanderous lies about me. Time for some new material loser. You are surely a fool if you think anyone believes anything you say at this point.

How is that wivel on your neck working? Tick Tock COWARD

Saturday, February 15
New Dave's Market

Can someone inform Johnny Pajamas that there's a new Dave's Market opening on West Shore Rd. at the location of the old Benny's. He may want to put in an application there so he'll have something else to occupy his time other than attacking city workers and politicians on a newspaper website. Please let him know Dave's Market has a dress code for their employees which does not include wearing soiled sweat pants to work.

Saturday, February 15
John Simoneau

My only job now is COMING FOR YOU.... get ready. Tick Tock

Saturday, February 15