Officials in the Corry Area School District say they are aware of ongoing problems with the middle-high school phone system and are currently working to get the issue resolved.

Callers to the middle-high school have been experiencing trouble connecting to certain areas of the building, including some teacher classrooms. Likewise, the affected individuals cannot use their phones to call inside or outside of the building.

For a brief period of time, some residents were also unable to connect to the building’s main number — 665-8297.

“Obviously we are trying to fix the system,” said Corry Superintendent Dr. Brian Dougherty. “I called the high school’s main number this morning and it’s working fine. However, the system is antiquated and there are still a number of teachers without phones.”

The 20-year old phone system — which is located in a closet in the building’s main office — is connected to a server that reaches 114 phones inside the middle-high school building.

The system is made up of a series of 8 1/2-by-11-inch cards that plug into the main server. Each card is connected to different wings of the building.

The problem, Dougherty said, is that not only is the system outdated, but it is also weather sensitive.

“Any type of storm wipes out these cards,” he said.

Corry Business Manager Mike Andrus said the school has been experiencing these weather-related problems since the system was installed.

“This has been a problem from the beginning,” Andrus said. “When we get hit with electric, it blows one of these cards. We’ve had telephone companies and electricians in here and no one has been able to pinpoint anything.”

The system was upgraded about 12 years ago, when all the phones were installed in teacher classrooms. But, the upgrades did not eliminate the reoccurring card problems.

The nonworking cards have routinely been sent for servicing, but may now be nonrepairable.

“About a month ago, a storm rolled though and nailed a couple of the cards,” Andrus said. “We’re trying to keep it running, but it’s on it’s last legs. These electrical storms have wreaked so much havoc on the system over the years. There’s no more fixing it, it has to be replaced.”

At one point, all the district’s schools used the same type of phone system, but the middle-high school was the only building that experienced the weather-related problems, Andrus said.

When Columbus elementary was renovated in 2008 and Wright elementary was demolished and replaced with Corry elementary in 2007, those buildings were installed with new systems.

Concord elementary closed at the end of the 2006 school year, leaving Spartansburg and Conelway elementaries as the only remaining schools — along with the middle-high school — that are currently operating off the old systems.

See the Journal's Thursday, October 1st edition for full story.

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