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Snow leaking through skylights into Stonington’s Deans Mill School

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: theday.com

Published 02/13/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 02/14/2013 12:04 AM

Stonington — Half of the 24 skylights on the flat roof at Deans Mill School have been leaking melted snow into the school following last week’s blizzard.

The leaks forced the evacuation of one kindergarten classroom, which was temporarily relocated to the library, where a section was cordoned off because of another leak, according to School Operations Manager Bill King.

He said Wednesday that the leaks soaked carpets in some classrooms but did not cause any serious damage. The water was draining into buckets, and affected areas were tented off, he said.

The skylights were installed just two years ago with $78,000 in grants from the federal government and Connecticut Light & Power.

The project was designed to make the school, which is heated by electricity, more energy-efficient and allow natural light into interior classrooms that don’t have windows.

It was estimated that the natural light system would save an estimated $281,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years.

The system is designed to collect sunlight through a prismatic rooftop lens that then directs it downward. The sunlight is diffused and distributed into the interior space as cool, comfortable light. The system covers more than five to 10 times the area of a conventional skylight.

King said the firm that installed the lights came to the school, cleared snow from around the skylights and applied a polymer. He said Wednesday the flow of water had slowed.

King said he was bringing in another company to look at the problem. He said that if there is another significant snowfall, snow will have to be quickly cleared from the skylights.

The K-12 School Building Committee is currently beginning to design a proposal to renovate and possibly expand the town’s aging elementary schools, which have a long list of structural, handicap-access and space problems.

King said one improvement could be to add pitched roofs to the schools to prevent snow buildup. School Principal Doug Hammel could not be reached to comment Wednesday.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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