Here is one of the archived postings, written Sept. 29, 2012.
The last facilities tour gave me a human perspective on building maintenance and improvement. Danville Elementary School’s principal stated repeatedly as she was showing us through her lovely school, how grateful she was to the district for installing new ceilings and lighting in a number of her classrooms. The rain pounding on the sheet metal roof had previously made such a racket that children could not hear teachers’ instruction and autistic children were especially stressed by the sensory overload, she explained.
Once again I was enormously impressed with the cleanliness and good repair of everything I beheld. Even Sandown Central, a school previously targeted for closure, seemed in fine shape except for some windows with condensation between the panes. Sandown elementary school kitchens could use air conditioning along with Sandown North’s gym. Danville needs a better ventilation system over its dishwasher. Sandown Central’s cinder block exterior walls need to be insulated and clad in siding.
To my untrained eyes, every one of these costly items seems due to poor initial design. The ventilation over Danville’s dishwasher is too small. A number of our industrial-sized kitchens have poor ventilation. Uninsulated cinder block construction in our climate defies comprehension. Who was the genius who thought of metal roofs over elementary classrooms?
If you think these problems only relate to the older schools that have been upgraded, you should know that the Performing Arts Center has a problem with its facade because the overflow rain spouts direct water to cascade down the front of the building, getting behind some thin panels that freeze, crack, and break, giving a coat of paint a very short life. The material at the base of the PAC, which is not wood, now needs to be covered in some way.
This brings to a reasonable person’s mind a few questions:
Did the district hire architects experienced in building schools? With cafeterias?
Did the district change the architectural plans so to bring these problems upon itself in some way?
If not, does the district have someone experienced to review architectural plans so that materials inappropriate to our climate and the purpose of the buildings are not used?
Background notes: The tour took place on September 27. Sandown Elementary, Sandown North Elementary and Danville Elementary were viewed. Tours were conducted by the respective proud principals with comments by Facilities Director, James Hughes. One member of the public was present.