By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — The Greenwood Elementary School and Wakefield Memorial High have been long in need of upgrades and, in some cases, an overhaul, but no improvements will be made anytime soon.
At tonight’s school board meeting, Dr. Stephen K. Zrike will share with members findings of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) as written in a letter to Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio from MSBA Executive Director John K. McCarthy.
Around the end of January last year, Zrike submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA about the two school buildings, since both are in dire need of work but the request has been turned down.
As was reported a year ago, the Greenwood School has been deemed to be structurally sound but suitable for improvements.
Only limited upgrades or replacements have been made to the building over the years but numerous problems exist with the mechanical, plumbing, electrical and technology systems and are in need of fixing or replacing.
Zrike noted life safety improvements, such as a fire door replacement and fire alarm upgrades and said that remote camera entry control systems should be installed at every door.
Recently, the School Department was given a $10,000 safety grant by the state and a portion of this money could be used for the installation.
The school also lacks proper infrastructure, hardware and electrical distribution systems for implementation of the district’s technology.
The school also needs additional classroom space to allow for the implementation of district class size and a balanced educational system, said Zrike. In addition, office space is needed for counselors and occupational and physical therapists.
Additional space is also needed to accommodate art and music, as well as a science lab for exploratory programs. Chalkboard or white board space is needed in the classrooms and an increase in the number of bathrooms located on each floor is needed.
Priorities at the high school include roof work, window replacement and HVAC work.
Zrike said that roof leaks throughout the school are distracting to the learning environment. Buckets in classrooms and corridors are used to catch water leaking from the roof.
The HVAC system is the original equipment and some minor changes have been made over the years but the system has outlived its useful life.
The temperature is inconsistent from room to room and computer, darkroom and locker rooms lack proper ventilation.
Floor tiles in the older section of the building contain asbestos and are in need of replacement in classrooms and corridors. Two elevators are not handicap accessible and do not comply with the American Disabilities Act. The science labs are not equipped to meet accreditation standards for 21st Century learning.
Plastic windows and an inconsistent heating system have the impact of creating uncomfortable temperatures across the building. Depending on the location of the classroom, temperatures may be exceedingly hot or cold throughout the year. Naturally, these extremes are particularly disruptive during warmer and winter months. Finally, ceiling leaks throughout the building regularly interrupts the use of vital classroom and learning space in the building. The climate control issues in these areas have negatively impacted the operability of many of these systems. Hallway leaks present a safety hazard for students as they are forced to navigate past water to get to their classrooms.
The last priority is space in the Science Labs or math classrooms to accommodate class size policy at the high school. The computer labs do not allow for enough work stations to accommodate an entire classroom. The building lacks areas for confidential speech education meetings, small group intervention and unprofessional learning community gatherings. Unfortunately, larger meetings/conferences/assemblies are difficult to host, given that the lecture hall is in disrepair and the school lacks an auditorium.
Submission of the SOI does not guarantee the acceptance of approval of an application or the awarding of a grant or any other funding commitment from the MSBA.
Also on tonight’s school board agenda: Parent University, timeline for the hiring of principals for the Walton elementary and Galvin Middle schools, Early Childhood Center update and first day of school for the 2015-2016 academic year.