School repairs headed to voters
By Tracy F. Seelye, Express editor
The W-H School Committee has approved five warrant articles for Hanson’s October special Town Meeting to seek funds for several repairs deemed immediate needs at Maquan and Indian Head schools.
The articles fund repairs already made — Maquan cafeteria floor and asbestos abatement; Maquan boiler and heating plant repairs; Indian Head entry repairs, library carpet and cafeteria floor replacement.
“This is for items we are doing now,” said School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes, “This was also recommended by the Repair Committee.”
The articles also address upcoming projects such as replacing and rekeying Maquan classroom and office doors and corridor zoning doors as well an indoor ventilator for the Maquan offices to improve air quality.
The Town Meeting will also be asked to transfer funds to borrow toward developing a public bid document in the repair of the roof of the Indian Head School. Selectmen in the town would like them to write at least one more calling for a special election vote on a debt exclusion to pay for the roof repairs [see related story].
“This particular project is going to need an engineer … to come up with specifications so this job can be bid,” Hayes said. “When you build something of this caliber it has to have specifications and we cannot set specifications.”
A test roof section has already been installed for study.
Maquan’s cafeteria floor has been completed and passed post-asbestos abatement air-quality tests and carpet installation is done at the Indian Head library. Both were listed as emergency repairs after insurance inspections listed the floors as trip hazards and liability risks. Another trip hazard cited, on the sidewalk outside the Indian Head entrance, has also been repaired.
The Maquan door and lock article is aimed at putting locks on doors that may not have had them for more than 30 years.
“We’re also going to be replacing doors to bring it up to a little bit better code,” Hayes said. “The thought process was we can lock the building up if we do have a breach of the building.”
Assistant Superintendent of District Operations Craig Finley explained that some of the articles quote a sum of money, the lock article carries a figure that will become more accurate by Town Meeting as it is now in the bid process.
Hayes noted the maintenance of the two buildings impressed a state inspector this week.
“Her comments were the maintenance and cleanliness of the buildings was excellent,” he said. “The fact that the buildings are old and they have these issues, are the true facts.”
The inspection was part of the routine process for the district’s asbestos management plan, which passed. The full report will be received in 30 days.
In other business, Gilbert-Whitner announced the resignation of two district administrators who are moving to new opportunities. Finley is taking on a consulting opportunity in the private sector and Indian Head Assistant Principal Ryan Morgan, who has left to become the principal/director of Independence Academy. The school is part of a North River Collaborative program in conjunction with the district for students recovering from drug addiction.
“We wish Ryan well,” Gilbert-Whitner said. “He certainly was a top candidate and I’m not surprised he got the job.”
“Craig has been with us since he was very young, beginning as a paid person when he was 18,” she said.
She lauded his work as technology director and, for the past two years, as assistant superintendent of district operations, a job designed for his “unique skills and talents.” The job description will likely change going forward.
School Committee member Fred Small offered a salute to Finley’s service to the district and sought to induce him to stay.
“It’s been said Craig is a walking encyclopedia of the school district and I could not offer higher praise.” Small said. “He’s going to be sorely missed and I wanted to go on record as to saying, ‘Don’t go.’”