The Warren County School District is scrambling to get the lights back on in the main building at the Warren County Career Center.
An emergency meeting of the school district's board of directors was held at noon on Tuesday to begin a bid process to obtain a new transformer to replace the one that malfunctioned Monday morning. Several students have continued to attend the Career Center, which did not lose power to its rear building.
"In conversations with our insurance carrier, we don't have the exact cause," Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, director of buildings and grounds, told the school board, "but we're exploring the approximate cause of the loss as being a lightning surge. We'll being doing some forensic work once we pull the transformer to find out exactly what caused it."
Times Observer photo by Eric Tichy
At the moment, a lightning surge is being blamed for knocking out a transformer at the WCCC Monday morning.
Kennerknecht said he hoped to have a bid contract ready by Tuesday night and have contractors notified by Wednesday. He said even though a company is under contract with the required specifications, the school district needs to solicit three bids to comply with non-reimbursable project laws.
He said if everything runs smoothly, a new transformer located in South Carolina should be in place by the beginning of next week. Costs to replace the transformer are estimated at $28,000 to $32,000, which will include installation, inspection and tests.
Kennerknecht said money to pay for the transformer would come out of the school district's capital reserve fund, however, he said some of that may be reimbursed through the insurance company. Any reimbursement, he said, will be determined once an exact cause is known.
Kennerknecht added that he is required to send the school district's form for a new transformer to the state Department of Education in Harrisburg before installation can begin. "Once the board certifies this form, I have to send it to Harrisburg, so there is just one other step," he said.
No student should be affected by the power outage, Amanda Hetrick, director of secondary education, said. She said some students have been placed in the back building at the Career Center, which is run off a separate transformer. Others will be placed at Warren Area High School and Warren Area Elementary Center.