Published in the June 13, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The bad news is that the concrete slab under the Galvin Middle School is sinking and will require a major fix. The good news is that the school remains safe and the problem can almost certainly be rectified at no cost to the town.

School Superintendent Douglas Lyons called upon Director of Facilities Bob Schiaroli to provide an update at last night’s School Committee meeting.

Schiaroli said that there has been some settling of the slab beyond acceptable tolerances. He assured the School Committee that the foundation of the school is sound and the building is safe.

The affected area of the school runs from the Media Center just inside the main entrance and the entire wing to the right (North Avenue side), aka the “fifth grade wing.”

Lyons said that the settling is most evident when you walk down the fifth grade hallway. A gap is visible between the tile floor and the ceramic wall tile.

Lyons said that Bond Construction (the firm that built the school) has been working with the mechanical engineering firm of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger out of Waltham to develop a solution to the settling problem.

Schiaroli said that two weeks ago, Bond cored four holes in one classroom as a test area. They then poured grout support piers into those holes. This weekend, Schiaroli said, a load test will be conducted to see if the fix worked.

“They believe that it is going to work well,” Lyons said.

Assuming that the one classroom passes the test, 300 holes will be drilled in the slab and grout will be poured in creating piers to support the slab. Lyons and Schiaroli explained that the work will be split over two summers to avoid any interruption of the school year. Lyons did say, however, that if the work goes faster than expected and can be completed this summer, that would be ideal. The most likely scenario is that it will be done over two summers, Lyons said.

Schiaroli assured the School Committee that dust will be contained during the construction and everything will be deep-cleaned before school resumes in the fall.

Lyons said that Bond has been very responsive and is looking to do the work well and as quickly as possible. He said that updates would be provided throughout the process.

In response to a question from the School Committee, Schiaroli said that the entire cost of the fix will be covered by Bond and one of its subcontractors, so there will be no cost to the town.

Lyons pointed out that summer school programs that have in past years been held at the Galvin will move to the Woodville and the high school for this summer.