The Scarborough Town Council will consider hiring an independent engineer to review the high school construction at its March 30 meeting after two councilors expressed concern over the project at the council’s meeting on Wednesday.

Last week Town Councilors Jeffrey Messer and Robert Patch both raised concerns about a number of aspects of the quality of the construction at the high school and are concerned there are more and possibly larger problems that have not yet arisen.

During the council comments portion of Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, both Patch and Messer reiterated their concerns about the project, which include mold, cracks in the foundation, and construction not being done according to specifications.

Both councilors requested the issue be placed on the next council agenda. Councilor Steve Ross also supported the idea, saying it will be difficult to get public backing for another school project if they are unsure of the quality of the high school.

Messer hopes the engineer will provide answers regarding the building’s structural integrity and answer the concerns that he and Patch had raised. In addition, he also would like to learn if there is any unexpected future maintenance costs related the school’s construction.

Meanwhile the Scarborough Code Enforcement Office is conducting its own review of the project, which is normal for all construction projects in town. Code Enforcement Officer Carroll Shepard has received thousands of construction documents and has been reviewing them to see if there are any problems that have not been identified.

But what he has seen so far indicates the construction is being done correctly, he said. Most of the issues that have been raised are cosmetic in nature and can be repaired. In fact, some of the largest concerns expressed by Messer and Patch, including the mold and cracks in the foundation, have already been cleared up, he said.

Shepard, who regularly visits the site, said he has received three engineer reports regarding the foundation and all have indicated that the construction is adequate.

He did issue a stop work order last winter when concrete was being poured in excessively cold weather, but once the contractor built a tent around the area and heated it to acceptable standards Shepard again allowed the pouring to continue, as long as the temperature remained at appropriate levels.

Many of the concerns raised by Patch and Messer are not unusual during large construction projects, Shepard said. For example, Shepard assumed the wet ceiling tiles were caused by a small leak in the sprinklers, which was repaired and the tiles replaced.

In terms of the mold on the walls he said once it was discovered, he ordered the entire wall surface removed, and had the concrete bleached to kill any molds before the wall surface could be reinstalled.

“From what I’ve seen the finished product is excellent,” he said, adding that the electrical and plumbing work is of the highest quality.


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