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BHS has ‘structural issues’ -- No threat of danger, superintendent says

November 16, 2012

    While no imminent threat of danger exists, the North Adams School Board learned this week that cracks in the upper floor of the "C" wing at Bellmont High School have been discovered and will need to be fixed.
    Dr. Wylie Sirk commented on a report submitted to school board members by Larry Carty, business manager and director of transportation, and facilities and grounds for North Adams, noting, "The south wall of the high school 'C' wing structure appears to have structural issues that have manifested. Renovation will be needed."
    Part of the problem is the wall was found to not have a support structure and is made up of hollow brick-like blocks.
    Sirk said engineers from StructureTec have completed a field examination and are in the process of developing and overall structural evaluation in order to come up with a set of recommendations for the correction. It has been requested the recommendations be generated in a phased format so that corrections can be initiated as funding becomes available.
    Sirk stressed several times that "no imminent threat of structural failure is anticipated."
    A similar problem of this nature was discovered two years ago at Bellmont Middle School and was corrected.
    The Carty report (issued by Sirk since Carty was attending the Safety Academy Training in Indianapolis) said two sets of recommendations for updating the gas piping for the Aerco boilers at the high school, middle school and Northwest School are being sought.
    The piping needs to be redone because the original installation was incorrect, resulting in inconsistent feed rates and frequent flame failures. The work will weld in fittings and will have to be done when school is not in session. Recommendations from both Poorman's Heating and Air and the Performance Services Company will be examined by the board.
    An alarm monitoring system for all North Adams facilities has been upgraded. The analog systems maintained by the Priority 1 group have been replaced with wireless cellular systems installed and maintained by ESCO Communications.
    The superintendent also said the new traffic routes at the high school instituted on October 29 after fall break have been successful, with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic less congested. He said some tweaking to the system is contemplated to improve traffic flow even more, but called the early results "generally satisfactory."

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