School saved by donated heaters

05:46, Aug 07 2014
Cromwell College heaters
HAPPY TO HELP: Dunstan Hospital general manager Karen Penno and Cromwell College principal Mason Stretch with heaters on loan from the Southern District Health Board.

The holiday is over for students at Cromwell College after a local hospital came to the aid with back-up heating.

Students were sent home this week after the school's coal-fired boiler broke down, and half the school could not be heated.

Dunstan Hospital general manager Karen Penno said she had two teenagers at the school, and when she received notice the school would close due to heating problems she had a solution.

Last winter the hospital's old coal burner was replaced with a new woodchip burner and the Southern District Health Board purchased 38 oil heaters as a contingency while the work was carried out.

The heaters had since been in Queenstown while the Lakes District Hospital replaced its boiler this week.

PBT couriers provided a free service to pick the heaters up and dropped them off to the school last night.

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''It's really, really nice to organise something that gave back to the community," Penno said.

"The community does so much for Dunstan Hospital - they fundraise, do voluntary work, they do all sorts of stuff for us. We were absolutely rapt to be able to organise it.''

Principal Mason Stretch said it was a ''pretty chilly'' time for the boiler to break down, but the community had rallied together to get the school back open.

''We are so grateful for the support from the Southern District Health Board and Karen for her initiative, as well as others in the community who tried to help.''

The heaters were installed last night and classes were back in action yesterday.

A new augur was being built for the boiler which Stretch hoped would be running again on Tuesday.

The Southland Times