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Storm Causes Electrical Problems at High School; PHS Loses Another Day

Candace Braun

Thursday night's thunderstorm caused, and continues to cause, electrical problems at Princeton High School. The school was closed on Friday, May 7, and continues to have problems with generators overheating.

Lightning struck the school's roof drain at approximately 4 a.m. on Friday, which sparked some electrical wiring, cutting power to the school, said Lew Goldstein, assistant superintendent for human resources, public information, and community relations.

Transformers were knocked out when the school was struck, however back-up generators stayed online, which set off the fire alarm, said School Board President Anne Burns.

"There was a small electrical fire, which was managed pretty quickly," she said.

School officials were contacted soon after, and it was determined at approximately 5 a.m. that the school would have to be closed on Friday.

"We had to do some significant repairs inside," said Ms. Burns.

Two portable generators were obtained from Cooper Electric so that the school could reopen on Monday. However the large generator overheated during Monday's school day, and another generator had to be brought in to replace it, said Ms. Burns.

The same incident occurred Tuesday, forcing the school to get another replacement generator, she said. To keep the generator from overheating a third day, the school is minimizing power usage.

"We have had to power down parts of the school," said Ms. Burns.

Keeping some lights off, not using computers, and serving only cold foods in the cafeteria are some ways the school is conserving energy at the moment, said Ms. Burns.

PSE&G will be working on rewiring the school on Wednesday, she said.

A fire alarm also went off at 2:50 p.m. on Monday, which was caused by contractors, said the School Board president.

Students were evacuated, however minimal time was lost as school ended at 2:53 p.m., she said.

"We've been having problems with construction dust setting off fire alarms, but we're working to fix that now," said Ms. Burns.

The next problem that comes into play, is what the school closing last Friday will mean for the end of the school year. After the high school had to close one day at the end of March for a gas leak, the last day of school was moved to June 16. The originally forecasted last day of school was June 11, however snow this winter pushed the date back several days.

Now, the last day may be moved again to June 17, unless the district comes up with another solution.

"We're looking at several options right now," said Ms. Burns, saying that one possibility might be to hold an examination day on a Saturday.

However with Superintendent Claire Sheff Kohn away, the decision can't be made at this time, she said.

"Nothing has been decided at this point," said Ms. Burns.

All advanced placement (AP) exams that were scheduled for Friday are now rescheduled for this week. The AP European History exam will take place on Wednesday, May 19, and the AP U.S. History exam will take place on Thursday, May 20.

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