PLYMPTON– Plympton Selectmen heard some good news about the Dennett Elementary School Monday night, such as the long-awaited water filter coming online, and a new generator being installed, reimbursed by Town Meeting.
But the theme of the presentation to the board by Jon Wilhelmsen, Chairman of the Plympton School Committee and Joy Blackwood, Superintendent of the Silver Lake Regional School District, was that of a leaky roof.
The elementary school needs a new roof, and, “It’s not in great shape and it’s not going to be cheap,” said Wilhelmsen.
Blackwood said the roof was leaking in many places, and therefore insulation was wet underneath.
“It’s just a mess,” she said.
The two stated that the leaky roof is leading to inefficient air circulation in the building all year-round, causing classrooms to be too hot or too cold. Blackwood also mentioned that she believed this in turn leads to what she sees as high electricity costs at the Dennett.
A Massachusetts School Building Authority grant may be able to pay for somewhere in the range of 40-50% of the project, which Selectmen seemed to reticently accept.
Blackwood, as Superintendent, must apply for the grant and then Plympton assumes responsibility for the project. She noted that the due date for the grant, mid-February of next year, comes at a bad time for her.
“It is an astounding amount of work,” she said of the MSBA grant. “It is an onerous project.”
No work will begin on the project until summer of 2020 at the earliest, if the grant application is accepted. An STM approving the funds for whatever portion is not covered by the grant, must be held before then as well, said Blackwood.
Selectmen Chairman John Traynor asked if there would be patching in the meantime, to which Wilhelmsen said, “Yes, we’ll have to.”
Selectman Mark Russo asked if there was any sense of what would happen to the roof if the project was delayed, and Blackwood responded that water problems tend to get worse with time. Grants also come and go, and costs can go up, they said.
“We don’t want to use the ‘m’-word.” Blackwood said, referring to mold.
All agreed that the Dennett roof must be replaced sooner rather than later.
Old Town House
After putting new windows and painting out to bid, contracts were awarded by the selectmen on the recommendation of Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy. MJ Connors Company Inc., of Hanson, won the bid for the new windows for $46,964, after the lowest bidder, Aden Construction Company, Inc., of Dudley, which bid $34,900, withdrew. The painting project was awarded to the lowest bidder, DeMelo Construction Services Corp., of Whitman, for $19,435.
Last week, Dennehy said that the bids came in higher than expected.
Traynor wants to change the lettering on some of the signs on and in front of the building. Dennehy recommended getting one of the historical wooden signs from the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Special Town Meeting Debriefing
Selectmen also spoke about the special Town Meeting held the previous Thursday. 193 registered voters were in attendance, which Russo said was, “pretty amazing.”
“That sense of shared purpose, sense of community was really a beautiful thing, kind of in sharp contrast to other issues we’ve had at Town Meeting,” said Russo.
That kind of attendance rivals some annual Town Meetings, pointed out Traynor and all the board agreed.
The board was very pleased with the Town’s approval of the project to acquire the Twin Brooks Preserve.
In other news:
• The board will next meet Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. at Town House.
• Town House will be closed Oct. 8 in observance of Columbus Day.