Published in the January 6, 2017 edition.

WAKEFIELD — It looks like those who support a new or greatly improved Wakefield Memorial High will have to wait a year.

In a memo sent yesterday, Supt. of Schools Dr. Kim Smith and Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said Wakefield Memorial High School would not be invited into the School Building Authority’s current Eligibility Period at this time.

“We submitted a Statement of Interest to partner with MSBA in the design and construction of a new or renovated high school facility. The MSBA will accept our SOI for consideration in the next annual cycle, beginning in 2017.

“The MSBA received 89 requests from 58 school districts for consideration. The MSBA sorted these based on urgent need. To identify urgent need status, MSBA considers many factors, with the top three criteria of 1) safety, 2) overcrowding, and 3) accreditation warning.

“Wakefield Memorial High School does not meet the first two criteria, but is on accreditation warning based on the aging facility.

“It is not uncommon for a school not to be selected in its first request to the MSBA, so we remain hopeful for consideration in 2017-18. In the interim we will work with the Permanent Building Committee to review and address areas of critical needs that need to be addressed in order to continue to provide the highest quality education for the students of Wakefield,” the statement concludes.

Several options were delivered to the Permanent Building Committee for the high school, from vast improvements to building a new facility centered on 21st century learning.

The cost of addressing these upgrades ranged from $73.2 million to nearly $130 million. The state’s involvement in a school building project — particularly a new school building — results in an influx of state money to help get the job done.

Representatives of the Massachusetts School Building Authority made a site visit to Wakefield Memorial High School on Oct. 27, a development that at the time was viewed as an encouraging sign in the town’s pursuit of the MSBA’s financial assistance to address the High School’s deficiencies.

The town submitted a “Statement of Interest” (SOI) to the MSBA last spring.

The Wakefield Memorial High School building has serious structural and mechanical deficiencies that are having a significant impact on teaching and learning. That was the message that was delivered by school administrators at a School Committee meeting last fall which was attended by the town’s state legislative delegation of Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Paul Brodeur and Rep. Donald Wong.

Director of Facilities and Transportation Maria Serrao discussed the building’s physical issues and WMHS Principal Richard Metropolis talked about the impact of those deficiencies on teaching, learning and accreditation.

Serrao started by listing some of the architectural and exterior envelope issues, including: rusted windows and doors, single pane glass windows, no insulation in walls, fieldhouse metal panels failed, stone panels split, caulk joints are in poor condition, exterior concrete and railings rusted & cracking and louvers and vents in poor condition.

Serrao said that the high school’s roof needs to be completely replaced, describing its current condition as a “Swiss cheese” of patched leaks. Other issues with the roof include protruding fasteners, clogged drains, minor ponding, gutters destroyed last winter and dry rot in wood.

Serrao also discussed the interior architectural issues. She stressed that science labs need major renovation/updating and are an issue for the school’s accreditation. There are handicap issues, especially with the restrooms, she said.

In addition, she pointed to code issues with egress stairs, interior finishes in poor condition, sound issues with mobile partitions, furniture that is not suited to modern educational needs and the need to abate vinyl asbestos tile in the building.

Serrao also talked about issues with the High School’s mechanical systems including lack of equipment efficiency, inadequate fresh air ventilation, temperature control lacking, inadequate exhaust ventilation and no digital control systems.

She also outlined the plumbing deficiencies within the school, including faucets, flush valves, drinking fountains and kitchen fixtures. Fixtures are generally not handicap accessible, she said, and there are no low-flow, water-efficient fixtures. Some fixtures are broken, there are leaking pipes and the supply piping likely has lead solder.

In terms of deficiencies with the school’s “life safety” systems, Serrao said that most systems are well beyond their life expectancies and should be replaced. Specifically, emergency standby systems are not code compliant and generators are in poor condition. Some panels have been upgraded, she said, but the original wiring was re-used. There are ADA code issues with devices and there is no voice evacuation system. New egress lighting and exit signs are needed. The school’s communication equipment in general is very old, Serrao said.

Regarding the electrical systems, she noted that many gear parts are so old that they are no longer made and maintenance is impossible. Panels and breakers have exceeded their lifespans and panels in public areas are fully loaded. T8 Lamps and ballasts have been upgraded, but remain inefficient with poor lighting and no automatic control. More occupancy sensors are needed and there are an inadequate number of power outlets.

Metropolis said that the building deficiencies make it challenging to meet the demands of 21st century teaching and learning. The building doesn’t allow for much flexibility, he said, and instruction is affected. He stressed that building deficiencies, especially in the science labs, have had the school on “warning” status for years in terms of its accreditation.

He said that the front offices are retrofitted classrooms from the building’s days as a Junior High School and offer little privacy.