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Memo Outlines Roof Clearing Timeline, Snow Accumulation Dangers

The order to clear all the school roofs of snow before any could open came last Wednesday, when it was determined the roofs were holding as much as five times what it could hold.

Concern about the safety of the school roofs and by Thursday a contactor had been hired to clear the roofs, according to a timeline of the snow clearing work by Building Inspector Charles Brett.

But work and on the following Thursday the high school and middle school remained closed, . The three elementary schools .

In a five-page memo from Building Inspector Charles Brett earlier this week, he said the accumulated snow weighed, in some places, more than five times as much as the roof was designed to hold after last week’s snowstorm.

The flat school roofs were built to hold 30 to 40 pounds per square foot but the accumulation in some places ranged from 80 to 160 pounds per square inch, Brett said.

“These loads obviously far exceed the safety limits, and these buildings were closed as a result of the excessive load limits the snow imparted,” Brett wrote.

By earlier this week, the thawing and freezing had hardened the snow, creating the need for the workers to chop it up before it could be removed from the roof. In some cases, snow sitting on middle portions of the roof had to be handled three or four times before it was finally able to get to the ground, he said.

The reopening of the schools was further complicated when the roof at the began to leak on Tuesday. The leaks were caused by snow removal of the roof, Brett said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the was ready to be opened and the Cutler and Winthrop schools were very close, before all three schools did eventually open on Wednesday.

The School Committee plans to discuss the roof clearing process and how the lost days will be made up when the committee meets on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the multi-purpose room.

Mary February 10, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Tonights meeting should be very interesting. I'm sure the school commitee will be very defensive...like always!
Robert Foringer February 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM
couldnt agree more Mary!!!!! Funny they could not come to last meeting but I bet when the Audit suggest they cut 17 postions they will be there in force
Mary February 11, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Actually, the committee was very good at the meeting. I am surprised more parents were not upset with the process that happened to remove the snow. I hope in their plans as they move forward, they will consider - "you get what you pay for". I have to wonder, if they had gone with the more expensive bidder, would the job have been completed quicker.

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