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Worthington Elementary to reopen Wednesday

According to an email from the Howard County school system, Worthington Elementary will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 18 as scheduled.

For the second day in a row, the Ellicott City school was closed Tuesday to students because of a power outage. The school was also closed Monday, Sept. 16.

Chief Facilities Officer Ken Roey said BGE anticipated power returning late Tuesday night, and school opening Wednesday.

Phones are working, and staff reported for work both days. PTA President Dominick Roselle said that back-to-school-night activities, originally set for Tuesday evening, will be rescheduled.

Worthington gets about 90-95 percent of its energy from a nearby solar panel field. The 2,000 solar panels, erected in fall 2011, sit on about three acres of land adjacent to the school property, over the New Cut Landfill.

Worthington is still connected to the grid, Roey said, and the school system purchases a certain amount of solar energy from Sun Edison, the owners of the field, every year.

"There's a cable that runs from a transformer outside the school, which goes around the landfill to a transformer on the other side," Roey said. "From what I've been told, there's a bad connection and BGE is replacing the entire cable."

Worthington opened in 1976. Many older school buildings in the county still have original underground connections to the power grid, Roey said, and outages are a "symptom of the aging infrastructure."

"We've had several instances where one of those connections had a fault," Roey said. "There's an increase in the budget this upcoming fiscal year dedicated to infrastructure improvements."

Earlier this month, the school system's central office, the Homewood Center and the Applications and Research Lab, which all share a campus in Ellicott City, lost power for several hours, causing Homewood to dismiss students early. On Aug. 27, a power outage at Oakland Mills High School forced the cancellation of afternoon and evening activities.

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