Concerns about boiler heat up in Swampscott


SWAMPSCOTT — School officials are working to replace the 27-year-old boiler system at Hadley Elementary School before it fails.

“The architect said it’s a miracle the heating system hasn’t failed,” said Evan Katz, school business administrator. “We need to replace it as quickly as possible to avoid an unscheduled failure.”

The current residential style boilers at the 106-year-old school were installed in 1990, Katz said. There are 14 and only three are operating. The other 11 cannot be repaired, he said.

The school went out to bid on Dec. 12. Seven bids were received. Performance Plumbing & Heating of Medway was the lowest bidder.

The bids were awarded for the boiler replacement project at last week’s school committee meeting, according to Katz. The bid amount, from Performance Plumbing & Heating, is for $410,999.

Work is scheduled to begin shortly after Jan. 23, when school officials are holding a meeting with the Hadley School community, to ensure parents that the disruptions will be minimal and educational activity will be separate from project work. Substantial completion is targeted for April 7. Work will include installing three steam boilers for the project. The boilers and some of the related equipment in the basement will be replaced, according to Katz.

Katz said students and staff will be not interacting with contractors completing the work. Work will begin at 5 a.m., and the noisy work will be done before students get to school around 8 a.m. He anticipates the most disruptive portion will be demolition work. Access will also be limited to the side of the building where the contractor is entering the basement.

“If we thought we could delay this to the summertime, we would,” Katz said. “But the architect who did the study said the heating system could fail at any time. We want to avoid a situation where the school could get shut down and we would have to reschedule school days.”

Katz said most of the funding was approved for the project at Town Meeting in 2015. The original appropriation approved for the project was $450,000, but that also went toward roof repair work at Hadley School, which was completed last year. He said the finance committee recently approved allocating an additional $80,000 for the boiler replacement project, as the original funding was insufficient.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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