EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 24, 2013

Security, ventilation, other areas need work, letter says

By Shawn Regan

---- — Concerns at the high school, according to a letter from the city’s maintenance director to Superintendent James Scully, include:

Building security. According to Thomas Geary, the city’s maintenance director, the school’s renovation did not include any modern security upgrades.

“A burglar alarm was installed to protect the building during unoccupied hours, but there are many crucial upgrades that need to be made,” Geary said in his letter.

He said there are 91 security cameras at the high school, but that the system is “taxed to its limits and needs to be updated” for the safety of students and staff.

Roof on the swimming pool building. School Committee President Paul Magliocchetti said the building’s roof has been is desperate need of repair since he joined the School Committee three years ago.

“For years, we were told it was damaged in a storm and that we were trying to get at least a portion of the money for repairs from the insurance company,” Magliocchetti said. “Now all of sudden there’s no more talk of that, only that the roof is badly damaged and we need to fix it.”

Heating, air-conditioning and ventilation. During the renovation, the entire building was outfitted with a computer-based control system. But during installation, the contractor left the job and had to be replaced with another company, Geary said.

His letter said the city is negotiating with Ameresco, an energy service company, to test and upgrade the system.

Irrigation. The campus around the high school was redesigned in the renovation, but it did not include an irrigation system to maintain landscaping.

“For the past three years, the custodians have had to scramble to connect an extremely long series of garden hoses and move sprinklers around throughout the day,” Geary said.

Maglocchetti said the contractor who did the landscaping was supposed to come back for the next three years to water the grass. But that has not happened, he said.

“Again, what was done to make sure the grass is taken care of and what were our options supposed to be if the contractor did not follow through on his commitments?” he said.

Fiorentini said he researched the matter and has found nothing to suggest there was an agreement for anyone to come back to water the grass. Instead, he said the decision was made that $100,000 for an irrigation system could be better spent elsewhere.

Common area ceilings. Geary said new water pipes, electrical conduits and computer wires were run through the ceilings and vestibules during the renovation, but that the pipes were left exposed.

“The exposed pipes are not only aesthetically displeasing, but there are also maintenance problems,” Geary said. “The pipes occasionally sweat, making slippery conditions, and exposed wiring poses the possibility of vandalism. Ceilings should be installed to correct these issues.”

Routine and preventive maintenance. Magliocchetti and Geary agree that Haverhill High — the city’s largest school with more than 1,800 students and 200 staff members — needs its own maintenance budget.

“Doors, windows, HVAC units and electrical systems must receive routine maintenance to ensure they will have a long life,” Geary wrote.

He recommended stocking up on commonly used parts and having a maintenance technician assigned to the school.