By Katina Caraganis

MediaNews

TOWNSEND -- A report put together by a design firm working with the North Middlesex Regional School District on a high-school building project re-emphasizes the need for major repairs.

The report, put together by Symmes Maini and McKee Associates, was released during Monday night's meeting of the School Building Committee, and then presented to the full School Committee.

The document will be used as a tool throughout the process with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which will receive the report in the next few weeks, according to Robert Templeton, chair of the School Building Committee and a member of the full committee.

Members of the Symmes Maini and McKee Associates team spent a considerable amount of time touring the high school, then reported its findings, ranging from the condition of classrooms to parking spots, to boilers and asbestos.

"I think it's safe to say the report was an eye-opener for us," Templeton said at Monday's meeting, while noting that many of the concerns raised were far more extreme than originally thought.

The report notes that the majority of the windows are in good condition, but many single-pane windows remain, and committee members believe they are in poor condition. Many of the exterior doors appear to be in good condition, but the sealant and wood frames likely need to be replaced.


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The roof appears to be in good condition, but the greenhouse is in poor condition, and the loading docks have extensive concrete damage and the stairs are not code-compliant.

All interior walls and finishes appear to be in good condition, and much of the flooring is in fair condition, but there are asbestos issues in the tiles.

Carpets at the entryway could also cause some environmental concerns.

The ceilings are in poor condition, and much of the plaster has water damage.

In terms of accessibility, the report found that the elevator in the building is unreliable, and it's unclear if it meets access requirements. There are no handicapped-accessible showers in the locker rooms, there are several inaccessible teaching locations, and most bathrooms do not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also, the boilers are in poor condition and have exceeded the expected life span, and combustion air in the boiler room is inadequate.

The report also states that major piping failure is possible in the condensate systems, and that the steam tanks and pumps are in average conditions.

The fuel-oil transfer system is in poor condition, and the automatic temperature-control system appears to be antiquated and does not work, according to the report.

The report also points out other deficiencies in the current HVAC system, including the fin-tube radiation being in poor condition with a thermostat that doesn't operate properly, ventilators that are in poor condition with interior and exterior soiling, and an antiquated air-conditioning system that is in disrepair.

There is also no direct supply of exhaust air in the corridors and stage area, and there are missing vestibule interlocks at many entries.

The report also shows there is no sprinkler system in place, and the domestic cold- and hot-water systems are in poor condition and are not expected to last 10 years without having significant issues.

All sinks in the science labs drain directly into the normal drains, and any chemicals dumped in are not properly treated. Also, plumbing fixtures throughout the school are not ADA-compliant and are in poor condition, and emergency showers and eyewash stations are not ADA-compliant.

Also, the report states, many of the bathrooms do not have hot-water access.

Emergency generators in the school are in poor condition, and all emergency distribution and branch circuit panels are in code violation, according to the report.

The fire-alarm system is also in major violation of the building code, the report states.

The School Building Committee is hosting a public forum on the building project tonight at the Townsend Library and will likely be narrowing down its choices for projects to three next week. Once the three are identified, rough cost estimates and timeline projections will be presented, and one choice will be selected by the committee and then forwarded to the MSBA.

Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.