Update February 17, 2017: Isle of Wight County Schools has been in communication with the state Fire Marshall and held a meeting with him Friday morning, February 17. The Fire Marshall is in agreement with the division's plan of action for testing the sprinkler system on Monday. The division will provide additional updates after testing is complete, including plans for moving forward.
Feb. 14, 2017:The Carrollton Elementary School dry pipe sprinkler system was slated for replacement in the summer of 2015. Due to the transition between administrations, the project was not completed. Upon realizing that this was the issue, current staff began reviewing the history of the project, including prior estimates on the cost to replace the system. Original estimates ranged from $1.2 million dollars to $300,000. In addition, the project was never sent out by past administration in the form of an Request for Proposal (RFP). All work over the amount of $100,000 must be bid through the RFP process and sealed bids. Because of the significant difference in quotes and the fact that the project was never bid correctly, the Superintendent instructed the Director of Support Services to contact another sprinkler company to review and assess the current dry system and recommend any next steps. On Monday, February 20, which is a staff and student holiday, the company will test the dry system. This testing will demonstrate whether the system needs to be replaced in its entirety or whether another recommendation is made on the system. The division will move forward with the recommendation from the consultant and do the necessary bids to proceed.
Carrollton Elementary School is equipped with two fire suppressant systems—a wet system and a dry system. The dry system protects the attic area while the wet system protects the remainder of the building, including all classroom spaces. The wet system at Carrollton Elementary has been, and is, fully functioning, as well as the dry system at this time. The dry system which protects the attic has had three pipe repairs this school year and similar repairs over the last several years. Repairs typically occurred over a 3 to 4 hour period on the same day. The dry system is turned off for this duration. When the school was unoccupied during the repair time, the school was under a fire watch procedure.
“It is unfortunate that this project was not resolved earlier,” said Dr. Jim Thornton, Superintendent. “However, the Carrollton Elementary School wet system and the alarm system have been fully functioning. All classrooms, hallways, offices, as well as the cafeteria and gym, have been protected. I hope sharing this information will dispel any possible misinformation about the safety of the school.”