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Mamaroneck PACE Students Feel Winter Weather in Class

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Students who take PACE classes at Mamaroneck High School have had to wear their winter jackets in class because the rooftop heating unit atop the PACE Auditorium malfunctioned a few weeks ago, said Zachary Moore, theatre teacher for PACE.

"It has been very cold in class and the kids have been wearing coats in class," Moore said. "It is definitely colder during the activities in the classroom."

After having the heating unit inspected, the school determined it was beyond repair and in need of an emergency replacement . But the school has been able to keep temperatures at an "adequate" level by opening the doors to the Palmer hallways to let in the warm air. Last weekend, the theatre department staged its winter play, "The Diary of Anne Frank," without a hitch.

"Considering those measures, the mild temperatures, the theatrical lights and the large audiences, I don't think anybody even noticed the heat was off," said Bill Derby, music teacher for PACE.

The PACE staff notified the school of the problem, which began two-to-three weeks ago, said Meryl Rubenstein, assistant superintendent of business operations for the Mamaroneck School District.

"When mechanics went to troubleshoot they found the unit with the roll out sensor tripped," Rubenstein said. "After more investigation we found the exchanger completely shot with every tube of the heat exchanger corroded."

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Mamaroneck Board of Education authorized an emergency replacement of the heating unit, which is estimated to cost $43,000 to remove the old one and install the new one.

George McNally, director of facilities, inspected the unit and advised the board it could not be repaired. His staff will take care of the electrical work, but the school has hired Bertussi Contracting Services to replace the unit. Bertussi is the contractor on site for both Hommocks Middle School and Central School, Rubenstein said.

"The school district has determined that the failed heating unit cannot be repaired and threatens the health, safety and welfare of the students and staff," said Robin Nichinsky, president of the board of education. "The rooftop heating unit failure has caused PACE Auditorium to fall below appropriate temperatures in cold weather."

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