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Schools, other buildings safe, says building inspector

Date: 2/14/2011

Feb. 14, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — With reports of heavy snow and ice causing roof collapses and other structural integrity issues, like the one being dealt with at East Longmeadow's Mapleshade Elementary School, citizens may have concerns about Wilbraham's schools and other municipal buildings.

Not to worry, says Building Inspector Lance Trevalion.

Travalion has spent the better part of his time since the major winter weather inspecting and reviewing the safety of town buildings and schools, with a special emphasis on the schools.

"I've been working on a daily basis with the facilities manager for the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD), looking at all of the school roofs," Trevalion said. "We've removed snow from several locations and will continue to do so as it's needed."

Travalion told Reminder Publications that after seeing the buildings, he has found no immediate problems with them or their structural integrity.

"At this point, I am very comfortable with where we are," he said.

Travalion added that the age of the buildings in the school district could be a contributing factor in how well they have held up to the large accumulations of ice and snow.

"I saw on the news that the average age of a Springfield school is somewhere around 56 years old," Trevalion said. "Ours are all somewhere around 50 or younger, so the better construction probably plays a part in that."

However, he warns, the fact the town is satisfied with the current stability of the buildings doesn't mean the situation doesn't require monitoring. With the roofs of many schools, including Minnechaug Regional High School, being flat, it is imperative to keep and eye on the roof drains to ensure they do not become clogged with ice.

"Ice is the worst case scenario," Trevalion said. "One cubic foot of ice weighs approximately 5.1 pounds. If you get a lot of that, it can lead to some very serious issues."

Trevalion added that multi-level slanted roofs should be monitored, as snow slides or drifts from one area to another and that could require clearing an area more than once.

Anyone with concerns regarding the stability of a building's roof, or any other building safety issue, should call the Building Inspector's office at 596-2800, ext. 204.

"I'm constantly checking buildings and responding to all concerns and questions people might have," Trevalion said.

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