HANSON – Razing the former Maquan School has hit a snag, Green reported to the board Select Board, on Tuesday, Nov. 15. A request for proposals fo bids on the demolition was canceled Monday, Nov. 28 because no information about possible asbestos in the building had been received.
She and Building Inspector Terry Glass, Facilities Manager Charles Baker conducted a site walk with contractors as part of the request for proposals (RFP) to bid process on Monday, Nov. 14.
“There were quite a few construction companies that came to the site walk,” she said. “There were a number of questions that were brought up, and it looks like we’re either going to have to delay the bid deadline or possibly cancel the bid because of the questions that came up.”
Water at the site raises another question — and one that could change the scope of work.
“It was asked if water was going to be made available for this project — we did reach out to the Water Department and they said, ‘sure, if they wanted to use a little garden hose and hook it up, that’s fine,’” Green said of the dust-control measure. But if a larger hose is required, the Water Department said they wouldn’t do that.
“The contractor would have to bring in their own water,” she said, quoting the Water Department.
Select Board Chair Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett asked if they gave a reason and Green said Water Department officials said a bigger hose could result in dirty water being allowed to re-enter the water system.
The scope of work would also require the town to rewrite the scope or work segments involving water and asbestos before reissuing the RFP.
Green said the town needs to reach out to the school district about a 2012 asbestos study done at Maquan because it did not include windows and roofing. Apparently, there is a need for a windows and roofing survey regarding potential asbestos in those areas.
Hanson has sent questions to the new W-H facilities director as to: whether a survey, including windows and roofs, was done and what abatements were done.
FitzGerald-Kemmett, who sits on the Maquan Reuse Committee, recalled having a comprehensive report provided that committee by former W-H Facilities Director Ernest Sandland, who retired last year. No report has been received from the school district, Green said Monday, Nov. 28, so the RFP has been canceled.
“It was part of when they were thinking about whether they were going to build a new school or not,” she said. “Part of what they had to do was to study how deplorable Maquan was to build a case for building a new school.”
While that school construction project failed, the study information is still available in that study. She provided her only copy to Green in order to copy it.
“I think that that may answer some of your questions,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said.
“If that turns out to have the answers that we need, it can be very helpful,” Green said.
The other issue is once the building is gone what would be left there and they type of fill to be brought in.
The board also agreed to a schedule for discussions on the WHRSD fiscal 2024 budget with Superintendent of Schools Jeff Szymaniak.
Szymaniak visited the board during “the most wonderful time of the year, to talk about budget,” he quipped. He noted past pledges toward greater transparency on the budget process and, as in a previous visit to the Whitman Select Board, briefed the board on the process he is planning to follow.
Szymaniak plans to present an overview of the district budget on Dec. 21. Hard numbers will not be available this year, and Governor-elect Maura Healey, will have some extra time to put her first state budget together, as all newly-elected governors do – meaning the district won’t receive them until March.
But he said he would be able to provide numbers to show approximately where the school budget is at.
“I pledged to the Whitman [Select Board] that the week of Jan. 9, I’d like to meet collaboratively with my School Committee, the boards of selectmen, and both finance committees that week,” he said.
The School Committee is slated to meet Wednesday, Jan. 11 of that week and the Hanson Select Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Jan. 10. Szymaniak suggested Thursday, Jan. 12 if the board so chose. A public hearing on the school budget is being planned for Feb. 1, 2023.