Baileyville Holds School Building Committee Meeting

The rotting of the window sills and siding are contributing factors to the problems with moisture that Woodland Junior Senior High School is facing. In some places the rot is so complete it almost goes through to the inside of the building. The siding of the buildings are visibly warped and in need of replacing. (Photo Credit Thomas Vicaire).

By Kaileigh Deacon

On June 13 the town of Baileyville voted against a new school expansion proposal that would consolidate the Woodland High School and Woodland Elementary Schools into one building through expansion and repair to the existing high school. This proposal was the Woodland School Building committee’s suggested answer to concerns for the condition of both schools. 

On Monday evening, in the Woodland High School library, the Building Committee met to discuss what direction they are going to take to make the schools better for students and staff. At this first meeting of the reconvened committee, the first order of business was to elect a chair. Prior to the meeting, John Gallant expressed interest and with no other interested parties, he was elected chair. 

“I would rather this be the work of the committee than the work of the superintendent,” Superintendent William Braun said. 

With the rejected proposal from June behind them, the committee was concerned with identifying the issues at the two schools. One of the ways they attacked the problem was with presentations by principals from both schools. 

Principal Thomas Vicaire went first for the high school. In his presentation of issues, he did not prioritize, instead choosing to highlight some of the biggest issues for the committee’s consideration.  There are issues with an exposed electrical junction box, moisture issues, rotted masonite siding, poor insulation in the attic, old windows, old shingles on the roof, old doors in the gym entry, an uncontrollable public address system, poor lighting conditions, and old outdated asbestos tile.

The committee got to see many of the issues addressed by Principal Vicaire in a tour of the high school. During the tour, Principal Vicaire pointed out many of the issues that he explained in the Powerpoint presentation. 

For the elementary school, Principal Amanda Belanger had a similar presentation that outlined just a few of the issues that are present at the elementary school. One issue was the playground out behind and alongside the school. For the last two springs, a noticeable odor has been coming from the ground. There has also been an issue with the cement that is grounding the equipment starting to rise up from the ground, causing a safety issue. Belanger explained that she is currently looking at grants that would help with the playground issues. Building issues at the elementary school are similar to what the high school is experiencing with the windows and the poor lighting. 

In addition to these issues, the elementary school is facing the issue of not having enough outlets for the amount of technology that are used in modern classrooms. The heating system also runs off one boiler as that is all the room will hold and in the spring the room’s floor floods. 

Currently the only work on the table is the fire suppression system at the high school. The bond for this goes to public hearing on August 28 at a special meeting of the Baileyville Town Council. If approved, the bond would be in the amount of $376,000 with 30% of that being forgiven by the state. The project would be started right away, being done on the weekends and after school hours to cause as little disruption to the learning process as possible. 

We’re back to the drawing board,” Superintendent William Braun said. 

While this meeting was preliminary to bring up the issues and establish what they need to be focusing on, the committee got a good start on what needs to be done to make these schools safe and enjoyable for students and staff. The next meeting will be on July 31 at 6:00 p.m. at the Woodland Elementary School where the committee and anyone who wishes to attend will take a tour of the school to see the issues before beginning the prioritization of the projects at both schools.

Water damage at the high school is not limited to the windows and siding. Doorways are also affecting the moisture issues. Moisture is not the only problem at the high school but it is one of the most visible. (Photo Credit: Thomas Vicaire).