Superintendent of Schools
22 Main St.
West Newbury, MA 01985
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015
Contact: Jeff Mulqueen, Superintendent
Pentucket Regional School District Reports on Snow Removal Progress
3,225 Tons of Snow Removed from Rooftops of All Six Schools in Three Towns
WEST NEWBURY, Mass. — Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen reports that significant progress has been made on snow removal efforts at Pentucket Regional School District schools, including the removal of all of the snow that caused concern over the safety of the rooftops.
Students are on February Break this week, and schools are set to re-open as scheduled on Monday, Feb. 23.
Nearly 200 workers, including employees of the school district, private contractors, and the Towns of Groveland, West Newbury, and Merrimac, have labored for more than a week to successfully clear snow from 215,000 sq. ft. of rooftops at the four elementary schools, Middle School, and Pentucket Regional High School.
The frequent and intense snow storms between January 27 and February 9 raised concerns about the weight of snow on roofs. Monitored levels of snow encroached on the weight capacity of roofs when the District decided to close schools. Approximately 3,225 tons of snow have been removed during these past few days.
“The high level of collaboration among towns and the District expedited the work and kept everyone safe,” Superintendent Mulqueen said in a letter to parents, faculty, and staff.
The amount of snow, caused by repeated major winter storms without any significant melting, moved Superintendent Mulqueen to cancel classes last week, with the caveat that work, including administrative tasks, repairs, maintenance, and, notably, snow removal would continue while the students were at home.
“I appreciate that last week presented unusual circumstances for families,” Superintendent Mulqueen said. “Given the difficulties recently reported by schools in nearby communities and the substantial snow storm that occurred over the last weekend, I am glad that this difficult decision was made.”
The snow removal work was overseen by Greg Hadden, the District’s Facilities Manager.
“I am grateful to Greg and the entire team of 200 workers for their tireless efforts, and I appreciate the support of our communities,” Superintendent Mulqueen said. “This massive effort could only be accomplished with everyone working productively together.”
Full Text of Superintendent Mulqueen’s Letter to the Community:
February 18, 2015
Good Afternoon Parents and Staff Members,
Last week, Pentucket took bold steps to ensure the safety of students and staff. Record snow storms that occurred from January 27 through February 9, 2015 resulted in a large accumulation of snow on school roofs and on school grounds. Although snow levels are monitored throughout the winter, the frequency of storms and insufficient melting between storms caused considerable concern. Closing schools to clear the roofs and grounds made the most sense given the risk factors. I realize that the timing of my announcement to close schools was problematic for some and I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. I will make every effort to improve as we move forward. I appreciate that last week presented unusual circumstances, particularly for families. Given the difficulties recently reported by schools in nearby communities and the substantial snow storm that occurred over the last weekend, I am glad that we took action.
Each school has had the flat portion of its roof shoveled. The total flat area of our school roofs is estimated to be 215,000 square feet. Snow was removed from pitched areas as needed. The wind and incline generally prevents snow from accumulating on the pitched areas. This translates into approximately 3,225 tons of snow removed from the roofs of schools. Our snow removal effort required approximately 200 workers secured from towns, the District, and contractors. The high level of collaboration among towns and the District expedited the work and kept everyone safe.
Although the roofs are cleared, ground operations will continue throughout the week. It is likely that the weekend will be needed to complete snow removal. You may notice some drifting at schools. This can be quite normal during the winter. Drifts around the campus of each school will be removed as needed.
I am grateful for the good work and support of our communities. This massive effort could only be accomplished with everyone working productively together. My special thanks are extended to:
Betty Gorski, Chairperson of the Groveland Board of Selectmen, members of the Groveland Board of Selectmen, Director of Finance, and Groveland Department of Public Works;
Laura Mailman, Chairperson of the Merrimac Board of Selectmen, members of the Merrimac Board of Selectmen, Director of Finance, Director of Public Works, and the Merrimac Department of Public Works;
Glenn Kemper, Chairperson of the West Newbury Board of Selectmen, members of the West Newbury Board of Selectmen, Director of Finance, Director of Public Works, West Newbury Fire Department, and West Newbury Department of Public Works;
Chris Wile, Chairperson of the Pentucket Regional School Committee and the members of the Pentucket Regional School Committee;
Maria Gray, President of the Pentucket Association of Teachers, Wayne Gelina, Union Representative for Custodians, Mary Parry, PAT Representative for Paraprofessionals, and Linda MacDonald, Union Representative for Clerical Employees;
Greg Hadden, Bob Danforth, and the other members of the District’s Facilities Team;
and the Pentucket Administrative Team.
When everyone works together, great things are possible!