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Claremont high school’s renovation causes upset, sparks inspection

CLAREMONT — Health and safety complaints about the Stevens High School renovation brought out a state inspector to the school last week. The Department of Labor said Tuesday that, during a preliminary walk-though on Friday, the building appeared safe.

A few students and staff members sent their health and safety concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, which in turn referred the matter to the state Department of Labor, said David Putnam, chairman of the Renovation Committee.

On Tuesday, Michele Small, administrator of the inspection division of the Department of Labor, said she sent one of the department’s inspectors out last week for a preliminary walk-through as a result of the complaint.

“We just sent somebody up to do a visual and there did not appear to be any obvious issues,” Small said. “The school said they were having an air quality test done so we’re waiting to hear the results of that also.”

A follow-up inspection is planned at a later date, she said.

Putnam said the air quality test is being conducted and improved ventilation is being added to the building because of dust the project has created.

“The reality of it is, is it’s an old, old building and as we do work, dust is coming loose,” Putnam said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

Fire and building inspectors are in the building “all the time” Putnam said, to ensure the safety of the staff and students.

“There’s a lot behind it, a few people are unhappy so they are trying to find what I believe are ways to challenge the project, by saying we’re not doing everything that we are supposed to be doing,” Putnam said.

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