The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 23, 2004


Water-damaged classrooms to reopen

Students moved to the school library while classrooms were repaired. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

Two Carlisle School first-grade classes that have been in makeshift quarters in the school library for two weeks are expected to return to their classrooms today. The classrooms had extensive damage from a pipe that burst last week after the sub-zero weather. The carpets in Mrs. Walker's and Ms. Clark's classrooms still need to be replaced, but old asbestos floor tiles beneath the carpet in the fifty year-old Spalding Building are making the repair more complicated.

Buildings and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery said that while the asbestos tiles don't pose a great health threat, the school must follow protocols for asbestos handling. This week an industrial hygienist tested to see if any tiles break when the old carpets are removed. The carpets are glued to the floor. The consultant did a pull test on the carpets and found there was no damage. He reommended that school workers remove the carpets carefully, and if tile damage should ocur, that a certified asbestos contractor be brought in to complete the work.

The two classes will return to their rooms on the old carpets while the school awaits delivery of new ones. Flannery says the carpets are completely dry and are safe to use. The new carpeting will take about a week to be delivered from a state supplier. They will likely be replaced during February vacation week when everyone is out of the building, allowing enough time to complete the work. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson assures parents that the school is handling the situation with care. "The school is taking every precaution to be on the safe side and to prevent any health risk." The Carlisle School Committee visited the classrooms on Wednesday evening to assess repairs.

Last week a split pipe found in the unheated attic over Mrs. Walker's first grade class caused an estimated 1,500 gallons of water to flood the room. The water also affected Ms. Clark's room next door. Two other nearby first-grade classrooms received minimal or no damage.

Repairs to the damaged ceilings and walls in the two rooms have been completed and sections of the sheetrock walls have been replaced and painted. The water damaged books, supplies and educational charts in the classrooms. Books have been re-ordered and teachers and aides are in the process of recreating the charts, says Fox-Melanson. The school's flood insurance will cover all of the damage, including the classroom's books and supplies as well as clean up costs.

Another burst pipe

Another pipe burst at the school last weekend after the extreme cold, this one under the old brick schoolhouse building. Flannery says the pipe was in an unheated space under the building and supplied water to the sinks there. The leak was discovered when the buildings staff checked on the school over the freezing holiday weekend and discovered several thousands of gallons of water were lost from the water tank. Luckily there was no damage inside the building and a plumber was to repair the pipe this week. The brick building is used for middle school art classes. "It's been a busy winter so far," says Flannery.

At the library one first grade class was set up in the story area and the other in the main study table area. Regular library visits by other classes were on hold for the last two weeks. The librarian visited some classes with books. Furniture and books from the classrooms were stored in the Spalding conference room which is out of use until the room repairs are completed.

Davida Fox-Melanson said, "Holding class in the library is not an ideal situation, but the teachers and children are doing fine. It's a good life lesson for the children. Things happen and we still cope and help each other." She praised Flannery and the buildings staff for their expert handling of the water damage last week.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito