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Bedford Public Schools weighs evaluation of buildings

Dec. 3 meeting will look at report, $80M estimate

TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting Dec. 3 to discuss options to deal with the district’s aging buildings.

The meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the high school is in response to an assessment the board received from consultant Plante Moran Cresa LLC of Southfield, Mich.

The study, which cost $15,000, details the conditions and needs of the district’s schools, plus transportation and administrative facilities. The school board got its first look at the findings at a meeting last week.

The draft report, complete with photos and illustrations, described each building and its projected needs over the next 10 years.

The anticipated total cost to fix the buildings, including the cost of nonurgent improvements, is just shy of $80 million.

Paul Theriault, the engineer who oversaw the assessment, said the study focused on four areas: critical needs, such as safety and energy efficiency; deferred maintenance, such as on old equipment; enhancements, such as a new auditorium, and maintenance not covered by the district’s sinking fund.

His estimates figured a 2 to 3 percent annual inflation rate. His report called the five buildings still used as Bedford schools to be “generally in fair condition and clean.”

The study also found numerous deficiencies in the buildings, such as in access control and security and restrooms that do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Douglas Road Elementary, the findings noted, had cracked wood structural beams and no fire sprinklers. The beams could be reinforced with metal plates, he said.

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