Superintendent authorized to pursue funding for roof repair, boiler replacement

May 11, 2021

During a May 11 meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously authorized Wareham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood to submit two statements of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. 

Submitting a statement of interest is “the critical first step” in applying to grants for school building repairs, according to the state organization. The statement of interest informs the Massachusetts School Building Authority “about deficiencies that may exist in a local school facility and how those deficiencies inhibit the delivery of the district’s educational program.” 

Shaver-Hood identified two projects the district needs to undertake: replacing Wareham Middle School’s roof and replacing six old boilers at Wareham High School. 

The Middle School’s “single-ply rubber membrane roofing” is “rapidly aging and in dire need of replacement,” according to Shaver-Hood.

She reminded board members that in 2009 the school was forced to close for eight days due to a flood that occured because of a “tear to the roof.”

Selectman Patrick Tropeano asked if the seagulls — who drop shells onto the roof — were still causing problems with the roof. 

“We have [the roof] inspected about once a month now because the seagulls continue to like to drop their shells on the roof,” Shaver-Hood confirmed. 

She explained that inspections are necessary to keep making repairs.

“It is at the point of failing,” Shaver-Hood said. The estimated cost of the project is about $1.5 million, she said. 

Similarly, the six boilers at Wareham High School have been in use since the school was first built — meaning they’re 30 years old, Shaver-Hood said. 

“Right now, they’re basically beyond repair,” she said, noting that only two boilers currently work. “They’re starting to break apart and we’re unable to find replacement parts because of their age.”

The cost of replacing the boilers is estimated to be $250,000, according to Shaver-Hood.

She explained that the statement of interest would be the first step in asking the Massachusetts School Building Authority to consider the district for the replacement program, which would ensure some of the cost of the replacement projects would be offset by state funding. There is no guarantee the town will be selected to receive the funds, however. 

“Yeah, I’m in favor of this,” Tropeano said. “Without a doubt.”

Selectman Judith Whiteside agreed: “Clearly there is a need for both of those improvements.”

The other board members seemed to agree with Tropeano and Whiteside: They voted unanimously to authorize Shaver-Hood’s planned submission of both statements of interest. 

Shaver-Hood also needs the approval of the School Committee to submit the statements of interest. She said she plans to ask for the committee’s input on May 20.