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Quincy officials say they can handle costly roof, masonry repairs for schools

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  August 16, 2012 01:10 PM

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Although updates to several Quincy schools have proven more costly than anticipated, city officials say that no additional borrowing will be needed for the projects.

Part of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, the work includes new roofs and flashing for four schools, a new roof for five additional schools, and other roof and masonry work on another seven school buildings.

The current problems with the buildings, which range in age, have resulted in water infiltration into the buildings in a number of locations, city officials said.

As a result, Quincy officials established a $2.4 million plan to update the buildings, with projects that range from $10,000 to flashing work at Point Webster Middle School, to $500,000 for a new roof at the Della Chiesa Center.

According to mayoral spokesperson Christopher Walker, however, a more thorough investigation into the projects showed the work would cost more than previously thought.

“The roofs were required an additional investment. We didn’t want to do anything in half measure, and the roofs required some additional money and the masonry work was something that was also included later in the process,” Walker said.

As a result, money was taken from the anticipated work for Coddington Hall and Old City Hall, projects which have since grown in size and been moved outside the Capital Improvement Project umbrella. City officials bonded an additional $18 million for those projects.

The money initially appropriated to those two areas has since been partially added to the school roofing project, bringing the total cost of the roof and masonry repairs to approximately $5 million.

“There is a measure of flexibility that allows for interchanging moneys within the program, because of instances like this,” Walker said. “When you do a detailed level of study and recognize that the brick work needs an additional amount of work, it’s appropriate that the Capital Improvement Plan has that flexibility.”

The work on the roofs has been under way for over a year now, and should be completed within the next several weeks.

“Our school buildings are a cornerstone for our future, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that we provide our current and future students a safe and functional learning environment,” Mayor Thomas Koch said in a release. “In many cases, these are older buildings, making these investments even more necessary.”

In addition to the roofing project, the city is also conducting a major window replacement project at Montclair Elementary School. According to a release, the last time the windows were replaced in the century-old building was more than 30 years ago.

New glass panels will be brought in to replace the Plexiglas currently in the building, which will not only provide more light to the classrooms, but also be more energy- efficient. Funding will come from the Public Buildings fund.

It is all part of a plan to bring a large portion of the city’s buildings up to date.

“We are building new schools where necessary and making repairs to existing schools where necessary – these buildings are an important part of our City’s infrastructure and deserve this kind of attention,” Koch said.

In addition to the updating work, construction is under way for the Central Middle School.

Paid partially by bonds and mostly by money from the state, the $50 million school is on track to be completed by the spring of 2013.

The concrete foundation of the school has already been poured.

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