HANSON – Sometimes the damage you can’t see is worse than that you can see.
The Hanson Multi-Service Senior Center has found that to be the case after pipes frozen during this month’s polar cold snap resulted in a flooded floor when those pipes burst.
Director Mary Collins had planned on some repairs, covered by the town’s insurance and the ability to use the rest of the facility because the rest room was still useable, would mean no interruption of services to the elder population.
Then came some bad news – followed by some good news – that changed Collins’ plans.
The bad news: “We’re on the road,” Collins said last week. “We had some damage done by water as a result of a pipe that burst during our last cold spell.”
The good news: That road is leading to Camp Kiwanee’s Needles Lodge, which had been offered to the center initially. Programs will begin at Kiwanee on Monday, Feb. 27.
“We’re incredibly grateful to Dori Jamieson, who is the administrative assistant as well as the Camp Kiwanee Commission, for reaching out and offering the facility” she said, also extending thanks to Select Board members, Town Administrator Lisa Green, and the police and fire departments for their assistance.
“They have been instrumental in staying on top of it,” Collins said. Facilities Director Charlie Baker and Senior Center custodian Mal Hession reported the burst pipes at 5:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 6 to her and turned off the water to prevent further damage. Security cameras showed the pipes had burst at about 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5.
“Because he was so quick about the phone call, I was able to reach out to Charlie Baker and he, in turn, called the plumber,” she said. “When I arrived that morning, the plumber was already here.”
She also said local Inspector Kerry Glass has also been incredibly helpful.
“To me, it’s a testament to how our departments work so well together,” she said. “The library has been incredibly supportive of us in general, because they know how much everything that we do here means to us.”
Collins had been initially concerned about damage to the walls that she could see.
“But then, there was a lot of other things that we couldn’t see,” she said.
Hanson’s insurance carrier, MIIA came quickly to assess the damage by a claims adjuster, who, in turn had a remediation team travel to the center to conduct tests.
“That’s when we realized how widespread it was,” she said.
Water damage will require complete replacement of some walls, while others only sustained damage as high as a few feet up from the floor.
“They speculate that it will be about a two and a half week period that we will be at Camp Kiwanee,” she said. “Plans are in place with Camp Kiwanee as well as our IT Director Steve Moberg, He’s been on top of it and has made arrangements for phones and our computers, so we don’t anticipate any stoppage of services that we can provide.”
All regularly-scheduled services and programs will continue as usual.
The library has also had to make decisions about certain activities that used the Senior Center on weekends, Collins said.
An animal program that had been planned for the Senior Center on Feb. 24 had to be moved to the smaller library Community Room.
“It may be a tight squeeze for them, so that’s where the concern is,” she said. “This has impacted everyone, but – again – we will be available by phone. We are going to continue to provide our services Medicare applications, you need to discuss fuel assistance, we’re there.”
Meals on Wheels will be delivered to Kiwanee for preparation and packaging for volunteer drivers to distribute from there. Pre-packaged meals have been ordered for the Tuesday and Wednesday congregate lunches, held at Kiwanee.
There is handicapped parking available, and assistance will be available and visible, Collins said.
The company contracted by MIIA to do the repair work will come in and do the required demolition of damaged area, removal of debris and the rebuild, starting Friday, Feb. 24, when they will start identifying what needs to be moved into a storage pod.