Students and Staff Face Weather Issues at Walpole High


Custodians create device to collect water from leaks. (Photo/ Allie Millette)

Brianna Deasy, Staff Writer

With the winter season in full swing, Walpole High School students and faculty may have to consider structural issues that are heavily affected by the weather.

Walpole High, Johnson Middle and Bird Middle Schools all applied for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) grant given to selected schools every year that covers 40-45 percent of the cost of all total renovations. The MSBA did approve the grant application for Bird Middle School; however, since Walpole High was last renovated in 2002, the MSBA denied the high school and Johnson Middle School’s statement of interest for the grant.

“We do take more precautions during the winter time, for a lot more can go wrong faster than in the warmer weather,” Head Custodian Dave Wood said. “Snow and ice around the school is always a concern, and it just adds to things that need to be checked on a daily basis inside and out of the school.”

A common issue with long-term rain and snow is that water can leak into the school and cause hazards throughout the hallways with slippery floors and buckets to catch leaks.

“When it comes to structural issues that are weather related, we have a couple concerns—high wind damage is one,” Wood said. “Periods of sustained wind will blow off roofing shingles, and also blow rain and snow into air vents that then leak into the school.”

Leakages are not the only problem. Since Walpole High has a flat roof, there is nowhere for snow to slide off. It can become extremely heavy very quickly and therefore become a serious hazard during the winter.

“Extreme snow loads on flat roofs, like we had a few years ago, is always something to watch,” Wood said. “During heating season, we perform building checks when the school is unoccupied to make sure the heat is on and everything is running like it should be.”

Not only do the leaks cause issues for teachers in classrooms, but the leaks from heavy snow loads and rain during the winter also cause issues in the hallways for students that are trying to get to class.

“The leaks cause traffic jams in the hallways because of the huge trash bins that block students from getting to class,” junior Molly Brousaides said.

Along with the issues that come with rain, snow and ice, another concern for custodians and faculty is planning several different renovations for Walpole High in the future, particularly adding on more open space for students, however the possibility for renovations is uncertain at this point due to the denial of the statement of interest.

“There are many things that would be nice to see done to the school, like updating the heating and cooling systems, replacing worn out carpets, updating classrooms, and adding on space for new classrooms, ” Wood said.