NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 21, 2013

Air quality tests needed before Page School permit issued

WEST NEWBURY – Before a final occupancy permit is issued for the Dr. John C. Page Elementary School, questions about the air quality in the building must be answered, said Building Inspector Glenn Clohecy.

Brad Dore, chairman of the committee overseeing a $10 million renovation project at Page, told selectmen this week that the job was substantially completed. “We’re pretty much done,” he said, noting that the building is up and functioning, and has been granted a temporary occupancy permit until a punch-list of remaining items is taken care of.

Dore’s committee anticipates the remaining work will be done by the end of December – with the exception of a revamping of the school’s entranceway.

But after conducting a walk-through of the building, Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), the town’s insurance company, felt the punch-list was “excessively long,” said Kris Pyle, administrative assistant to the board. Insurers aren’t yet ready to put the school building back on the town’s policy. Instead, selectmen will need to extend the project’s Builder’s Risk insurance with Hanover Insurance for 60 days to the tune of $3,025.

The dollar amount of work left on the project is $200,000 to $300,000, which includes a punch-list and a hold back, according to a memo issued from the selectmen’s office to MIIA on Nov. 6.

In addition Clohecy wants air quality tests conducted before he’ll give his final sign-off on the project. “I need some kind of a baseline to say what they have up there now is OK,” he told selectmen on Monday.

Because of budgetary limitations, repair or replacement of 11 mechanical air handlers was never part of the scope of work, said Dore, adding that new air handlers would cost more than $400,000.

“Those things are old, and they should be replaced,” he said, but said that the current situation is not a code violation and that windows can be opened periodically to improve air quality.

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