Miller-Driscoll last-minute fixes

Problems are inevitable with any large renovation project, and that is the case at Miller-Driscoll. All, however, can be fixed, according to Chris Burney, director of town and school facilities.

A warmer-than-normal fall led to the discovery that the air conditioning for  renovated classrooms was not working properly.

“An issue came up and we’re trying to find the answer to it. On hot, humid days, we’re not able to achieve the design conditions in the school. It’s warm and humidity is high,” Burney told the Board of Selectmen during its meeting Oct. 10.

As a result, the building committee is holding off on the final payments for the project, considering it incomplete until the issue is resolved.

Reports that a lighting fixture fell in the gym were unfounded, Burney said during an open house at the school on Oct. 12. What fell, he said, was a ceiling panel, which has since been repaired. No one was in the gym at the time.

There have also been questions about the roof over the gym. Burney said the entire roof has been replaced.

Empty classrooms?

The size of the building and the fact that not all the classrooms will be needed as classrooms has been a subject of contention and criticism throughout the project. At one point, there was discussion of moving other town offices into the school to fill up space.

None of that will be needed, Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said at the open house.

“The building was designed with 45 K-2 classrooms,” Smith said, “but we don’t have 15 sections for each grade.”

Instead, the school’s extra rooms were repurposed to create a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab, resource room, professional development room, and more.

“Every space is utilized,” he said.