Snow removal affects events at schools

January 21, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Churches and other groups that use Carroll County public school buildings have to cancel or relocate this weekend's activities, while maintenance crews struggle to clear ice from parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.

The same goes for extracurricular activities tonight through Sunday, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

Before the snow and ice hit, students were scheduled to be off only Monday this week for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But they ended up with a weeklong winter vacation that cost them two days of their spring break and two days of summer vacation, pending a vote by the school board.

But losing the use of a school won't stop worship for the New Life Foursquare Gospel Church.

The church and its 300 members are moving their Sunday service to the Comfort Inn this weekend and starting a half-hour later than usual at 10 a.m., said the Rev. Bill Thomas, the pastor.

For the past six years, the church has used Westminster High School for its Sunday services and religious education. Like other churches that use schools, the church pays the overtime cost for the custodians who staff the building while the congregation is using it.

Mr. Thomas said the school notified him yesterday morning, and PTC he had time to set in motion a back-up plan with no problems.

"We're a portable church anyway," he said. "And the Comfort Inn has been very generous to us."

The only casualty will be Sunday school classes. Mr. Thomas said there would not be classrooms available at the Comfort Inn.

He said he will ask radio stations to broadcast an announcement of the changes.

School Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said his decision to close school again today was because of road conditions, which have not improved because the weather has remained too cold to melt any ice.

Mr. Smith said the decision had nothing to do with saving energy, because the school thermostats are being kept at the daytime setting of 65 to 68 degrees anyway.

"When temperatures get dangerously low, we run our boilers on the day settings to keep our pipes from freezing," Mr. Smith said. He said other school systems often do the same.

"It may cost a few extra dollars in heating costs, but it cuts down on the emergency repairs when pipes freeze."

He said maintenance staff reported some "sporadic" cases of pipes freezing, but no major problems or flooding.

Mr. Smith noted that while schools are closed and central office staff have been coming in at 10 a.m. and leaving at 3 p.m. to conserve energy this week, the maintenance staff are expected to show up at their regular times.

Their contract allows them to take time off later in proportion to what central office employees had off, he said.

The shorter hours at the central office are in keeping with Gov. William Donald Schaefer's call for government offices to pare down hours to save energy.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.