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Somerville High auditorium remains closed because of Sandy damage

Posted by Jarret Bencks  November 29, 2012 01:25 PM

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Somerville High School's auditorium and cafeteria kitchen suffered significant damage during Hurricane Sandy, and the city may seek funding through state and federal emergency management agencies to cover repair costs, a city spokesman said.

Wind pulled the roof off the school's main building during Sandy, creating an opening too large to fix immediately, city spokesman Thomas Champion said. Rain that night and in the following days resulted in "significant" water damage to the auditorium and cafeteria kitchen, he said. The city's public works department began installing a new roof at the school this week.

The city plans to seek reimbursement from the Massachusetts and federal emergency management agencies on expenses related to the repairs, Champion said in a statement Wednesday. He would not give an estimate repair costs until all expenses stemming from the damages were documented.

"Partial totals or preliminary estimates can lead to misunderstandings down the road," Champion said, "and we want to make sure that the city of Somerville receives every dollar for which it is eligible."

The auditorium and cafeteria have remained closed since school reopened following Sandy on Oct. 31, Superintendent Anthony Pierantozzi said. Food is being prepared at Winter Hill Community School and brought to the high school until the kitchen is repaired, he said.

The city's public works department removed carpet from the auditorium and extracted water from sections of carpet following the storm, according to public works Commissioner Stan Koty.

A study conducted by an engineering firm prior to the storm found the school needed more than $10 million in repairs. Mayor Joseph Curtatone announced earlier this week the forming of a task force to review possible renovations -- and relocation sites -- for the school, which has not had any significant upgrades since 1986.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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