Back to class for Barrington Middle School students

Air quality 'within normal limits' at school; library still not open

Posted

Barrington Middle School students were welcomed back to class on Friday morning after a three-day break because of roof leaks and water damage inside the school.

Barrington Middle School Principal Dr. Andrew Anderson sent an email to parents of students on Thursday afternoon, March 16, notifying them of the news: "I am pleased to inform you that classes will resume Tomorrow, Friday, March 17, 2017, at the Middle School," he wrote. 

"Over the past two days, the custodians, roofing company, and professional cleaning company have been hard at work drying, remediating, and cleaning. Earlier this afternoon, a professional hygienist conducted air quality tests throughout the impacted areas. We are pleased to report that all air quality tests came back within normal limits."

During a nor'easter on Tuesday, custodians noticed a number of roof leaks at the middle school. Officials canceled class for Wednesday and called in contractors to help with the cleanup and to make sure the building was structurally sound. The roof leaks left water inside more than a dozen rooms at the school — many of them were located in the western end of the building. 

Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore said a thorough investigation of the building showed that the structure was safe, but officials needed an additional day (Thursday) to complete the "drying phase" of the cleanup. 

Dr. Anderson said some of the rooms — Rooms 203 and 212, and the library — would not be available to students until next week. 

"The cleaning company will be completing the necessary work tonight, tomorrow after school and throughout the weekend," he wrote. "We would like to thank the BMS learning community for your understanding and flexibility demonstrated over the past two days."

New school on the way

People who may have grown a bit frustrated with the unexpected three-day "vacation" for middle school students, may be pleased to know that voters approved a measure on Thursday night that clears the way for the construction of a new middle school.

At a special financial town meeting, taxpayers voted yes to exceeding the state-mandated 4 percent tax cap. The measure was necessary in order to afford the annual debt service payments that will be due on the $68.4 million school bond.

If voters had not approved the resolution, town officials would only be able to raise the tax levy by about $2.3 million. The annual bond payments are expected to be $3.1 million — about $800,000 over the 4 percent cap.

Residents approved the resolution by nearly a 2-to-1 margin: 590 for, 349 against.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.