Salisbury, East Rowan high schools dismiss class early because of failed air conditioning

Published 9:52 am Monday, May 14, 2018

SALISBURY — Lightning struck twice in Rowan County, resulting in the dismissal of two area high schools Monday morning.

Both East Rowan High School and Salisbury High School dismissed students early Monday morning after the schools’ air conditioning systems failed. East dismissed students at 9:30 a.m., and Salisbury at 10 a.m.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody said the district chose to close the schools because of safety and concerns for students who suffer from problems like asthma.

“We don’t really have that much choice when we lose power or water or air but to send our children home where it’s a safer environment,” Moody said.

According to Eric Nianouris, RSS director of facilities, both systems failed because of separate lightning strikes. Staff members are not sure when the strikes occurred, but Nianouris said the system failure at East Rowan High was discovered Sunday.

The facilities staff was unable to get a needed part before Monday, however.

The strike at East Rowan burned out 10 fuses and seven compressor fans that helped the AC system run smoothly. The damage also caused a loss of freon, which affected performance and caused the unit to shut down.

Salisbury High suffered a similar fate.

“The damage was nowhere near as bad as East, though,” Nianouris said.

The strike to Salisbury High interfered with electronic systems, as well as air conditioning.

Both systems were repaired by Monday afternoon, and Nianouris said he did not anticipate further problems.

“They should be good to go,” he said.