MAYNARD — Superintendent Robert Gerardi announces that the Maynard Public School District will temporarily close a wing of the Green Meadow Elementary School for the remainder of the school year so that a licensed environmental contractor can completely remove old asbestos building materials.
The work, which will start over February vacation and continue until the summertime, will require school officials to move classes to other parts of the building, including the gymnasium, but no students will have to change schools. The district is also in the process of ordering high-quality air purifiers for all classrooms in the school, in an effort to improve airflow and air quality building-wide.
The asbestos remediation is being conducted after a roof leak caused damage to ceiling tiles in the oldest wing of the school. One classroom has since been shut down, and the district made the decision to remove all of the old ceiling tiles in that wing of the school and install a modern drop ceiling. The town made initial repairs to the roof last year, and the school district will be seeking additional funding for roof repairs at the May Town Meeting.
Superintendent Gerardi stresses that this action is being taken out of an abundance of caution. The Town of Maynard immediately contacted the Massachusetts Department of Public Health when air quality concerns were raised about the building in the past. The most recent Department of Public Health assessment in September 2018 determined that there are no public health hazards present in the building.
“We are aware of the age and state of the Green Meadow building, and we are aware of building materials and methods in the 1950s. What matters most is that, whether this building remains in operation for five more years or 50, we must do what we can to ensure the health and safety or our students, faculty and staff,” Superintendent Gerardi said.
The relocation of students within the building will be done in an orderly fashion with a focus on minimally disrupting the school year. The abatement is part of the Maynard Public School District’s ongoing efforts, under Superintendent Gerardi, to better assess its facilities needs.