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New High School Roof and Brown School Maintenance Issues Discussed by Facilities Subcommittee

The Marblehead School Committee Facilities Subcommittee met via Zoom on Tuesday morning, September 20, 2022. Chair Sarah Fox led the discussion, which included an update from Facilities Director Todd Bloodgood on several projects currently underway. 


These projects include replacement of the Marblehead High School (MHS) fire alarm panel, updating of the heating and cooling systems in several school buildings with a focus on the 3rd floor of Village School, and regular maintenance of the heating control system at the Brown and Glover schools. In addition, the roof of the D wing at the Veterans Middle School (MVMS) needs to be replaced. One bid including complete removal and replacement has been received for a total of $60,000. Several more quotes will be solicited before a contractor is awarded the project.


The MHS roof is also in need of replacement, a much larger and more expensive project, the size and scope of which will require hiring an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) and an architect. Fox explained that there has been some discussion with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to explore state funding, but the MHS roof does not qualify because funding is only available for school building roofs that are older than 30 years. Marblehead High School was completed approximately 20 years ago, but there is urgent need for the roof to be replaced now. 


Fox suggested that the Facilities Subcommittee and MHS Principal Dan Bauer be tasked with running this project. Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Michelle Cresta will begin the bid process to hire the OPM. Bloodgood added there will be rebates available from National Grid for part of the installation of the new roof, helping to offset the total cost. 


The conversation then turned to grounds maintenance at the Brown School, with Fox explaining that the grass has not been cut since school opened earlier this fall. She referenced the Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the School Department and the Park and Recreation Department (Park and Rec) to maintain the grounds at all the schools. “We aren't getting what we need as far as maintenance and upkeep of the grounds,” Fox noted. Bloodgood replied that he would contact his counterpart, Peter James, Director at Park and Rec, to determine the status of the maintenance calendar. 


Fox continued by noting that parent volunteers usually perform the fall and spring clean ups on school grounds, but that the schools are then left with bags of debris. Village, for example, has 30 to 40 garbage bags that have been sitting there for weeks. When asked if the school facilities staff can truck the bags to the dump, Bloodgood replied: “I can ask my staff if they can do it. It is not part of their jobs. All I can do is ask.” Fox responded: “This speaks to why we need a groundskeeper. It sounds gluttonous that we need a groundskeeper, but there is a very functional piece to all of this.” 


Fox adjourned the meeting at 9:30am.