Don’t Panic! Turkey Hill School Is NOT Falling Down

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Feb 062014

Turkey Hill SchoolSome residents have contacted me about a disturbing story they read about the condition of Turkey Hill School, worried that it is on the verge of falling down.

The “story” it turns out, was an opinion piece, written by a parent who attended a Board of Ed Building and Grounds Committee meeting that contained many interesting facts about his child’s  elementary school (Peck Place) but also included his interpretation of a discussion regarding a problem discovered at Turkey Hill School.

I did not attend the committee meeting, but this is what I have come up with after inquiring about the problem and the seriousness of the situation.

On the Friday before last (Jan. 24) a custodian at Turkey Hill School noticed a strange gap between a window and the wall in the last classroom in the front of the building on the far right.

He immediately reported it, and Superintendent Lynn McMullin and Facilities Director Mike Luzzi called town building official Fred Trotta, who, in turn asked a structural engineer for some advice.

Everything was moved out of the room, and the children were relocated to the Spanish Room as a precautionary measure until school officials get some solid answers.

In the Blog it stated that “engineers (plural) looked at the problem and estimated that 50% of all classrooms may be at risk.”

Those who attended the meeting said there was only one (1) who looked at the one (1) room. 

The blogger also stated that the state code requires school building walls to withstand 110 mph winds — this is true, but, one school official said your children would not be in school in the middle of a hurricane where 110 mph winds may be present.

The blogger wrote, “Turkey Hill is not considered safe to occupy if those winds exceed 50mph.” Not sure where he got this information, but that statement is what has parents asking if the school is falling down.

Anyone who did not see the blog or read the entire thing may be concerned about the safety of the flat-roof school with the weight of the heavy snow from the recent storm.

The blog and Supt. Lynn McMullin both state that there is no issue with the roof.

On Monday, Feb. 10, the Board of Education will take action and make a motion to recommend (to the Board of Selectmen) retaining a structural engineer to determine the severity and best course of action for this situation at Turkey Hill. This could cost upwards of $7,500.

The Superintendent did not wish to make any official comment until  after a full analysis had been done.

The Board of Ed meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.