Hardy plumbing really a problem?

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Officials say bathrooms just have old fixtures

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

The bathrooms at Hardy Elementary School have risen to the top of the pile of concerns about the aging school, but a school official points the finger at sinks, stalls, tile and toilets rather than the actual plumbing. 

Sometimes it’s just too much toilet paper and old, saturated fixtures, said Isle of Wight County spokesperson Lynn Briggs.

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Hardy’s plumbing issues are part of the ongoing discussion among members of Isle of Wight County’s School Board and Board of Supervisors about whether to renovate the school — originally built in 1961 — or to replace it entirely.  

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Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors commissioned an independent study of which option — replacing or renovating Hardy Elementary School — is less expensive. That study is currently underway.

A group of former Hardy teachers wrote a letter to the editor recently about Hardy conditions, including the bathrooms. 

“The ineffective plumbing system causes numerous problems. Everyone endures horrendous odors, backed-up sewage, flooding issues, and the inability to use the bathrooms. Although numerous attempts to repair the plumbing issues are made frequently, the problem has never been solved,” according to the letter. 

Isle of Wight County Schools’ staff published a video called “Restore Hardy to Greatness” on April 4 that depicts students exiting a bathroom at Hardy and covering their noses, which may lead a random viewer to think that the school system acknowledges a faulty, or at least smelly, plumbing system at the elementary school. 

On the video, Briggs said that “Regular use of the bathrooms, and any overflows that have occurred of the past 50-plus years life of the school contribute to odors getting in the subflooring, walls, etc. Even with the bathrooms getting cleaned daily, the smell is unable to be removed.” 

Recently, students using too much toilet paper at one time caused a recent case of overflowing toilets, said Briggs, adding that another hallway flood was caused by a water fountain getting bumped, breaking the water line.  According to Briggs, two urinals slipped off the wall of the bathroom, causing the most recent closure.   

Briggs also said that the bathroom stalls were 30 to 40 years old, and maintenance is unable to replace one door since replacement doors are no longer available, limiting the number of toilets that students can use. 

“The plumbing is working, but because the pipes are older, they are not as wide as pipes in newer construction. The pipes are not broken, but may have difficulty handling the demand that is placed on them daily, which can lead to problems,” said Briggs.  {/mprestriction}