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July 17, 2014

Hamilton County High School takes a lightning hit

Jasper — Hamilton County High School took a direct lightning hit on July 3, striking one of the boilers at the rear of the complex and knocking out four air conditioning units, as was explained by Superintendent Thomas Moffses at the July 14 meeting of the school board where the temperature in the room was a tad warm.

“Two of them are back up and one chiller is running full capacity,” said Moffses. “The other two are being replaced as we speak.”

“This facility is lightning prone,” said General Services Coordinator Chuck Lambert. “There are a lot of reasons why it is that way. It needs a different grounding system and we’re into that now to alleviate our lightning strikes. This particular time it hit the boilers and cooler units. It bounced all over the place inside that facility.”

Lambert said the same thing happened last year around April-May.

“It’s what ended up damaging our auditorium,” he said. “That’s where we spent about $60,000 trying to fix that.”

The power company, Lambert said, has told him the grounding system at HCHS is sufficient, but he disagrees. Lambert said he has made some recommendations that he thinks are prudent to implement. Meanwhile, until the system is fully operational, which will be any day now, he said, he has made some adjustments to compensate for the lack of air conditioning in certain parts of the complex.

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