Hidden Niches

Have You Seen Everything There is to See at Blue Ridge School District?

By: Makenzie Cook/Senior Writer

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes,” our student blog, where we, two Blue Ridge seniors, Makenzie Cook and Kyle Maginley, show you the hidden places in our school! These are places we do not normally get to explore, because they are off-limits to students. Fortunately for us, Mr. Matthew Nebzydoski, the great adventurer (better known as our school’s curriculum director), has agreed to accompany us “behind the scenes!” Each week we hope to show you something different, possibly a place you didn’t know existed, or a place we find interesting.

Last week we visited the boiler room with Mr. Nebzydoski and learned how our school is heated by wood chips. Join us on our adventure.

What We Found Out:

It may be cold outside, but the school is typically at a comfortable temperature due to a wood chip heating system that is both financially feasible and environmentally sound. An added bonus to the system is that it feeds into a piping system that runs under the sidewalk at the high school’s main entrance, where it heats up the cement and melts the snow, cutting down on the need to shovel while keeping the area safe to walk on.

The wood chips come from a sawmill and would typically be thrown away, but this system takes that waste and uses it as fuel to heat the entire Blue Ridge District building.

The entire Blue Ridge District building is heated by a wood-chip-fed boiler system.

The stairwell to the boilder room, although hidden from view, leads downward to a large area that is home to our heating system that is fed by wood chips via a large conveyer belt. The maintence group from Blue Ridge visits the room a couple of times a day to make adjustments, as needed, to keep the sytem functioning smoothly.

Wood chips are delivered at least once a week, and sometimes twice a week. They are burned at such a high temperature that they produce steam instead of smoke.

According to Mr. Nebzydoski, the systems saves the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.


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