Improvements Necessary at Woodland Junior/Senior High School

By Dorothy Johnson

Last January, a company from Portland, Stephen Blatt Architects, sent a team to evaluate Baileyville’s school buildings at the request of the Baileyville School Committee.  Both parties agreed on a list of objectives for the evaluation and in February a contract was signed.  In another article for the Calais Advertiser, the problems found at Woodland Elementary School were listed with the approximate cost of remediation. This article will look at the structural problems at the Woodland Junior/Senior High School.

The inspectors gave the highest priority for remediation to the exposed electrical junction boxes in the attic. Openings are giving access to the boxes and when the snow melts, it presents a fire hazard.

Number two on the priority list is the absence of sprinklers and little smoke/fire protection from the corridors to the classrooms. These two oversights present hazards for occupant evacuation.

Moisture is continuously leaking into the building at the foundation and has presented a serious health hazard of mold especially in the lower (junior high) level. This problem would require re-construction of the stair well roof and re-grading to provide drainage away from the building. 

Facility windows are either older and un-insulated or cheap replacement windows. All windows should be replaced with good quality, energy efficient windows.

Insulation is poorly placed or in poor condition. Some areas are missing insulation. All insulations areas will need attention. The low pressure steam system used for heating is old and out-of-date. It needs to be replaced with a more modern hot water system. Heating/ ventilations units for the have outlived their usefulness.  Individual classroom heating units are sixty-plus years old and need to be replaced as well the controls that need to be changed to a “direct digital control system”.

The kitchen is too small and was not well-planned when it was changed from the cheerleaders’ dressing room. Food storage is all over the place as is the actual food service to the students. Using the gymnasium as a cafeteria reduces time for the gym to be used for classes and an inordinate amount of time is wasted by setting the tables and chairs up and taking them down each day. Current codes of the exhaust hood over the stove and the fire suppression system do not meet present codes.

Of course, some of these problems have been ongoing.  (Mr. Roffey slipped in the water at bottom of the stairs at the junior high level more than thirty-years ago. The classroom heaters have been having difficulties since the 1970s.) Mold does not appear overnight.  This building, like the elementary school, needs massive repairs and it will not be cheap.

The total cost of the improving Woodland Junior/Senior High School and addressing all of the problems mentioned above has been estimated at $4,000,000 by the Stephen Blatt Architects. 


The company also estimated the cost of several scenarios for improving the buildings in Woodland, including patching the problem as stated above or moving toward construction with the plan to move the elementary school to new ells that will be constructed on the high school.  These possibilities will be enumerated in another column. A committee has been established to study the alternatives.