GMUSD board OKs CAES restoration contracts School may re-open by mid-November; $85,000 main work not covered by insurance

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Engineer Naomi Johnson briefs the GMUSD board on the progress of work on Chester-Andover Elementary. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

Although insurance will cover a large majority of the expenses, the Green Mountain Unified School District met Thursday night, Sept. 27 to consider and approve contracts for work meant to restore Chester-Andover Elementary after plumbing-based flooding damaged the school in late August.

If all goes according to plan, the school could be open in mid-November, according to Superintendent Meg Powden.

The initial flooding, which destroyed two boilers, three electrical distribution panels and a hot water heater, occurred when a bolt securing the water meter in place failed and allowed 4 feet of water to flow into the boiler room. The Town of Chester Water Department shut the water off at the valve on Main Street and a plumber repaired the bolt.

The secondary flooding occurred when the water was turned back on and school’s original water main broke and sent water into two classrooms at the south end of the school. The classrooms are in an addition that had been built on top of the water main.

The contracts considered and approved were:

  • HB Energy Solutions to replace the main electrical distribution panel and two sub-panels in the boiler room and to replace the feeder wires to seven sub-panels located throughout the school. The contract also included new circuits for equipment in the boiler room. $75,262. This includes upgrading the distribution panel to be able to accommodate a 600-amp service in the future if the electrical needs of the school expand. The $1,000 cost of the upgrade will not be covered by the school’s insurance.
  • ARC Mechanical Contractors to replace the two existing Burham boilers with the same for $116,770 or with three Buderus boilers for $112,875. CAES Facilities Director Jim Spaulding explained that the smaller Buderus boilers are more efficient and would save the school money in fuel and electricity. Spaulding also told the meeting that as soon as the contract is approved, ARC could begin work and the installation would take three to four weeks.
  • ARC Mechanical Contractors to replace the existing hot water heater for $6,870. Spaulding said the heater was only a few years old and that the proposed cost is similar to when it was originally purchased.

CAES Facilities Director Jim Spaulding answers questions on details of the proposals while Johnson listens.

The board also approved the expenditure of $12,600 to replace the carpeting in the two classrooms where the water leaked.

Spaulding said that the work to fill the void under the slab created by the second flood had been completed earlier that day when holes were drilled through the slab and a liquid mortar was pumped into the space. With approval of the price, the installation of the carpet can begin today and the cost of the carpet is covered by insurance.

Water work in progress

Dufresne Group engineer Naomi Johnson told the board that the work of replacing the 4-inch main with an 8-inch main had begun on Sunday and was proceeding on schedule. Work is to be finished on Saturday, Oct. 6 at a cost of $79,556, which will not be covered by insurance.With the engineering work to lay out the project, the total cost of laying the pipe will be around $85,000.

Spaulding noted that the project would still need a plumber to connect the main to the school and that Rich Stocker, the school’s plumber, was retiring. He said that he had been in touch with Arne Jonynas of Chester Plumbing and Heating but also suggested that ARC could do the work while they are replacing the boilers. The board asked him to get prices.

The new main will fix a fire flow pressure deficiency at one hydrant that serves the school and add another hydrant at the back of the school. The pipe upgrade from 4 to 8 inches was mandated by the state fire marshal.

Superintendent Meg Powden updates the board on the progress of work under way at the school

As to whether a project manager or “clerk of the works” would be needed, Powden said that two had been contacted and confirmed that their services would be 10 percent of the cost of the project. Adding up the costs so far yields a total of nearly $300,000. Thus, project management would be in the $30,000 range which the school’s insurance carrier has said it would not cover.

Powden said that Johnson had offered to manage the work for $3,200. As a motion was made to accept her offer, Johnson rose to caution the board that with $1,200 of that going to the electrical engineer’s inspection of the work, the remaining $2,000 provided a “very limited scope” of work that would not provide “tons and tons of time.”

“This isn’t a very large project,” said Johnson. “If I thought you needed a lot of hours (of supervision) I would tell you.”

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