HANSON — The Board of Selectmen discussed updates on the Maquan School repair project, as well as the Whitman Hanson Community Access contract during its Tuesday, Jan. 24 meeting.
With several issues arising over the conditions of Maquan Elementary School, real change needs to occur shortly, town and school district officials agree. The roof over the gym was recently repaired, but that is only a small accomplishment in comparison to many other problems with the building.
School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes updated the board on a rejected statement of interest in an accelerated repair. This will slow down repairs from February until sometime in the spring.
Next Monday, the School Committee’s Capital Improvements subcommittee will be meeting at Maquan to discuss the issues that have been brought forward. Hayes mentioned the town needs to “appropriate $15,000 to $25,000 to evaluate the entire system.”
Hayes listed electrical problems, an overhaul of the heating system, the lack of a sprinkler system, asbestos removal, and an upgrade of the fold-down lifts as some of the work still to be done at the school.
There is already difficulty in determining the priority of these problems, he noted.
“We have been operating without a sprinkler system since the 60s, I would think the sprinkler system may not be as big a priority as the heating system,” Hayes said. “You can’t be in the building with no heat.”
Selectman Bruce Young mentioned that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) said that the building should have been replaced three or four years ago.
Depending on the evaluation of the school, there may need to be drastic steps taken moving forward according to Hayes.
“If [proposed repairs] reach 30 percent of the assessed value of the building then you need to bring the whole building under every code,” Hayes said.
The expectation is that Maquan will end up being over the 30-percent threshold.
“Every system should be replaced and that is why we will not qualify for the statement of interest (on the accelerated repair),” Young said. “It sets up a paradox between how many systems should we replace, when three or four years down the road you repurpose or you may not use the building.”
In other business, the board again placed the Whitman Hanson Community Access contract on hold.
As soon as the discussion started, W-H Community Access Board Chairman Arlene Dias, raised concerns over problematic language in the contract.
Section 3 Article J states: “The obligation to cablecast these meetings shall remain regardless of funding available to W-H Access.”
Dias and members of the board were confused as to how W-H Community Access could cover these meetings without having the funding to exist at all.
“We should take it back to the attorney to find out what the intent is,” said Selectmen Chairman James McGahan.
Town Administrator Michael McCue reported that discussions regarding the removal of the Plymouth County Hospital are still in the early stages. Much of the technical details appear to be in the works.
“They need to remove hazardous material before they start,” said Selectman Donald Howard, who chairs the Final Plymouth County Hospital Reuse Committee.
Howard also mentioned that the winter would be the ideal time to start this project, as it would prevent destruction related dust from contaminating the area.
Two structures are planned to remain after this process is over. The communication tower will be auctioned off rather than simply destroyed.
Prior to the Board of Selectmen’s meeting, the board’s Wage and Personnel Subcommittee discussed changes to the library director’s job description.
“This change comes from the library trustees, as they feel the current description has become outdated,” McCue said. The last change was made in 2004.
Some of the updates include additional duties such as increased oversight and attending various workshops. Additionally, there is a larger emphasis on education. Minimum qualifications list a “master’s degree in library science and five years of progressively responsible experience public library administrations.”
It also mentions an equivalent combination of education and experience will be adequate. Members of the board suggested that experience can be more valuable than education.