February 25, 2013

Portland students relocated thanks to leaky roof

The 30 West School kids will attend the former Cathedral School, rented for $500 a day.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Increasing winter maintenance problems at the West School on Douglass Street have forced school officials to move some students to the former Cathedral School on Locust Street, district officials said Monday.

click image to enlarge

In this 2011 file photo, the West School on Douglass Street in Portland.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

Starting Tuesday, about 30 children who attend the West School's day-treatment program for students with behavioral issues will attend classes at the former school building owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The West School's furnace stopped working about a month ago and is beyond repair, so the district has been heating the building with a leased boiler set up outside the building, said Peter Eglinton, chief operations officer for the city's public schools.

Then, the blizzard of Feb. 8-9 left deep snow on the flat roof of the 1962 building, causing significant leaking in the section of the school where the day-treatment program operated.

"Every time we try to fix the roof, it causes more damage," Eglinton said Monday.

School officials are looking for a more permanent and affordable site for the day-treatment program, and for an adult-education program that will operate in a less leaky section of the West School for the time being.

The district will lease the Cathedral School from the diocese for $500 per day, about $15,000 per month, likely through June, Eglinton said. The district leased the former Catholic school last fall when the Hall Elementary School was being repaired after a fire.

"We appreciate the diocese's willingness to rent to us again at short notice," said Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk in a news release.

All day-treatment students will be bused to the former Cathedral School, as they were to the West School, Eglinton said.

District officials have faced maintenance problems and the question of closing the West School for years. In particular, the section of the building where the day-treatment program operated is sinking and needs extensive, costly repairs.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

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