Town buildings study identifies structural deficiencies

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Selectmen received the town buildings assessment report with a recommendation to spend an estimated $34 million over 10 years to bring all 20 buildings up to code and in good internal and external condition.

Four structural deficiencies were noted by the architectural firm of Gorman Richardson Lewis, with the most serious identified at the former Gridley School on Washington Street. This report led to further investigation by Building Commissioner Ed Walsh, who recently termed it an unsafe structure. Walsh and the DPW found split rafters and other problems with the roof framing. The building was marked with a large red letter X, which indicates to firefighters that in the case of a fire, only an outside ground attack is to be performed. The building was vacant at the time of the inspections.

Structural engineers were due to inspect the structure this week and issue a report to the town’s insurance company. This report will help determine if the damages were weather/snow related and eligible for insurance claims.

The architect’s report was done in the fall and concluded that the rafter connections to the exterior wall on the south side were inadequate. They found a gap was present in the roof eave above the gutter.

The other structural problems in the report were identified at the Pequitside main house (stone foundation wall along the front of the building and mortar deterioration in the chimney); the water and sewer storage facility off Bolivar and Pine streets (brick repairs and roofing structure); and the Parks and Recreation garage on Pine Street (roof deck and mortar joints cracking).

The report examined all interior and exterior operations at Memorial Hall, the police and two fire stations, library, DPW garage, senior center, two water treatment plants, recreation center, Pequitside main house, carriage house and horse barn, former Ponkapoag School on Route 138, former Gridley School, and cemetery office and garage.

The report estimated one-year repairs and renovation costs to all buildings at $3.7 million; five-year costs at $17.7 million; and 10-year costs at over $12 million. The most expensive totals for 10 years’ worth of repairs and renovations were at Memorial Hall ($6.1 million) …

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more highlights from the April 25 selectmen’s meeting. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today (also available in digital form).

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