One Week, Two Boilers!

Friends had its second building evacuation for a boiler problem in a single week, as outdoor temperatures drop into the 40s.


Sora Klinefelter

Sophomore Sora Klinefelter snaps a selfie with Director of Facilities Carl Grant and the Upper School boiler room.

Yesterday morning, November 16th, Lower School children and teachers had a surprise when they got sent out of their building and put into the Dining Hall. Walking in a line, wearing coats, they filed across campus. Something had gone wrong with the boiler in the Lower School’s west building. This was Friends School’s second building evacuation for a boiler problem in a single week.

“It smelled really weird. Like, I don’t really know how to explain how it smelled. It smelled gross,” said 5th grader Amar Smith, who spent part of the morning in the Dining Hall with the rest of the Lower School doing homework, and part of it waiting in the cold on the basketball court. “I had a slight headache, and I was a bit scared. Me and Bridget, we both were.” 

With Lower Schoolers taking shelter in the Dining Hall, the building was closed to Upper Schoolers.

Dean of Student Life Travis Henschen told Upper Schoolers they weren’t allowed to go to the Dining Hall. Many were confused about what happened.

The facilities team brought in experts to investigate the boiler. They decided to close the Lower School for the rest of the day.

Word spread through the Upper School from students who work in Extended Day, who heard they wouldn’t need to work that afternoon, because students had been sent home. 

The Lower School boiler was the second Friends School boiler to experience issues this week, as outdoor temperatures dropped into the 40s for the first time this fall. On Monday morning, Upper Schoolers arriving on campus were gathered in the quad in the cold and wind, while the Facilities team investigated problems with the boiler in the main Upper School building. 

Rumors circulated about what was happening. Some people thought there was a small fire. When they got the all-clear, some students reported being happy to have missed some of their Forum classes. 

In the Lower School it was a different story. The building stayed closed Thursday, and some teachers brought their kids to school with them as a result. Some students expressed eagerness to return to school on Friday.

“I don’t know if we’ll go back tomorrow. Possibly,” said Amar on Thursday afternoon. “I hope we go back tomorrow.”