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March 20. 2014 8:50PM

Town working on estimate of Golden Brook repairs

WINDHAM — With two new members officially sworn in, the Windham School Board got down to business Tuesday night with a discussion on the portable classroom situation at Golden Brook Elementary School.

After welcoming Ken Eyring and Rob Breton to the board, school officials shared an update on their most recent findings at Golden Brook, where the failing portable classrooms had to be evacuated last month due to water damage and mold.

Third-graders have been receiving their lessons at Windham High School since returning from February vacation, and school officials said those children would remain at the high school for the remainder of the school year.

Administrators stressed this week that their goal remains to have those children return to Golden Brook in the coming school year.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said a partial demolition of the structures is under way to determine the level of damage.

Feneberg said the goal is to have an estimate of repair costs by April 1, with the board making a final decision on the matter next month.

“We feel a bit of urgency about moving on with this project as it’s pretty sizeable,” Feneberg.As of this week, the portable classrooms had been completely emptied, with two rental trailers on the premises to store much of the classroom equipment, books and furniture.

Business administrator Adam Steele said the final phase of the demolition would begin next week.

“By next month, we should have a better idea of what’s in the walls and where we need to go from here,” Feneberg added. “Because right now we don’t really know what’s in the insulation until we go in there.”

Board member Dennis Senibaldi suggested the district begin a thorough search for contractors for the final project.

“I’d love to see us go outside our general pool of vendors,” Senibaldi said. “We have a lot of resources close to Windham that could potentially save us thousands and thousands of dollars.”

Senibaldi said initial inspections into the building revealed a roof that was generally sound, with the exception of a few small leaks, though “some of the ceilings are disastrous.”

Chairman Mike Joanis said it might make sense to allow members of the public inside the portable classrooms once the interior demolitions are under way.

“I think we owe it to the folks in town to show them exactly what’s going on here when the building is wide open,” Joanis said. “There are parents whose kids are going to be in that building in the coming years and for me, seeing the situation for myself really changed my perspective.”

Board member Jerome Rekart agreed.

“As someone who will have a first-grader going into that building soon, I felt much better after going on a walk-through,” he said. ” I think offering that to the community would go a long way.”

The Windham School Board will meet again on Tuesday, April 1.aguilmet@newstote.com


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