WEST NEWBURY — Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen has ordered the six school of the Pentucket Regional School District closed for the rest of the week due to concerns over extreme snow loads on the buildings’ roofs.

When reached tonight Mulqueen confirmed that the district will be closed until after February vacation, which is slated to begin at the end of this week. Classes will resume across the district on Feb. 23.

Mulqueen briefly updated the selectmen from the three district towns about the situation during a one-hour meeting tonight. He plans to issue a release to district parents informing them of his decision tomorrow.

Snow removal from the roofs is not regularly performed as part of maintenance, but school officials do regularly monitor snow buildup, Mulqueen said. When he was informed that the amount of snow on all building roofs was nearing load capacity, he decided the safest thing to do was to close the schools until snow removal can be completed.

Mulqueen said details over the snow removal process and associated costs for each school are still being worked out.

Under the agreement that binds the regional district, Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury are responsible for the cost of “extraordinary repairs” to their individual elementary school building (s) as they meet the requirements of a capital project. The agreement defines capital projects “as costing not less than $10,000 and having a depreciable life of not less than 5 years.” The agreement goes on to say that capital projects must be scheduled and approved by the member town and that “emergency repair procedures shall be defined by the member Town lease agreement.” The district covers costs of on-going maintenance at the elementary schools and all such costs for the regional middle and high schools.

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