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Committee and school officials tour building

By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

WILBRAHAM According to Town Administrator William J. Fogarty, approximately 30 people attended the building tour of Memorial School on Nov. 1.

Fogarty, who told Reminder Publications that a second meeting that night prevented him from completing the inspection and follow-up discussion, said the purpose of the the tour was for members of the Major Projects Committee, School Department and interested citizens to view and address "a number of ongoing problems with the building."

Steve Nembirkow, business manager for the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, said Ed Cenedella, director of maintenance for the district, gave a presentation on the most pressing problems with the school.

He also said that Mike Messier, assistant director of maintenance, also attended the tour, as did Memorial School Principal Marguerite Myers-Killeen, Bob Quintin, chairman of the town's Major Projects Committee, and other committee members. School Superintendent Dr. Paul Gagliarducci joined the discussion following a National Honors Society induction ceremony at the high school.

Messier, who Nembirkow said has been working at Memorial School daily to oversee ongoing repairs to the heating system, was available to answer the Committee's and citizen's questions about the status of the building.

Among the major problems discussed during the tour was the condition of Memorial School's roof.

"That's the most visible thing because it's causing leaks throughout the building," Fogarty said.

Nembirkow said other needed repairs include replacing hot and cold water lines and possibly upgrading the heating system from steam to forced hot air; removing asbestos from the tunnels below the school; replacing rotting exterior windows and doors; installing new lighting and floor tiles; and replacing the lockers, which are original to the building.

Memorial School, which now houses students in grades two through six, was constructed in 1949.

Nembirkow said one of the issues that came up during the discussion was how best to accomplish what needs to be done at Memorial School, given the town's limited Capital Planning budget.

Last May, voters at the Annual Town Meeting approved $190,000 to upgrade Memorial School's heating and ventilation systems.

Nembirkow said the general consensus at the Nov.1 discussion was that the Major Projects Committee should approach the Capital Planning Committee to contract for an independent study of the school's needs.

"We put out the idea ... to have a comprehensive study done to help us determine what are the most pertinent needs," Nembirkow said. "It helps us to have a detached professional engineer come in and look at the school."

Nembirkow said he understood from Quintin that the Major Projects Committee would meet on the proposal in January.