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Mt. Greylock High School Asks DPH To Re-test Air Quality
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:43AM / Friday, October 14, 2011
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The School Building Committee hopes to get the air tested by the end of the month.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional High School's Building Committee is planning on having its ventilation systems tested in the next month but officials are not expecting the reports to be good.

Recently, committee member David Backus dug out a decade-old study that showed the carbon dioxide levels in some classrooms were double or triple state standards. While the school has some taken steps to remedy the situation, the ventilation system has not been replaced. The committee is now asking the state Department of Public Health to retest the air quality and are looking to contract out a test of the ventilation system.

"We've decided that it is appropriate to have more testing done," Paula Consolini, committee member, said on Thursday. "We feel this could get done by the end of the month."

Backus said he has looked at the school's "poorly designed" system and expects that the system has just gotten worse. The tests will be added to the school's updated statement of interest that it will submit to the state School Building Authority in hopes to receive funding to build a new school.

Backus has picked out multiple classrooms that span both types of ventilation systems the school uses and are of various quality. Those rooms will help show "the best the school can do" with its system and officials said that even that would not likely pass state standards.

Consolini added that the person she talked with DPH remembered the system being in shambles. In 2005, some school officials suspected the poor ventilation caused two teachers to contract sarcoidosis.

The DPH test of the indoor air quality would be free — and Superintendent of Schools Rose Ellis has already sent a letter requesting the test — but the system test could come at a cost to the district, Consolini said. However, she said she had spoken with "outside sources" that could be willing to foot the bill as a donation.

Before submitting the statement of interest, the committee is also going to re-examine and update its reports on the plumbing system, which custodians have said leaks sewage into the walls in some areas, and hazardous materials in the school. The committee will also continue to look at low-cost or no-cost options to have further tests done in those areas, Consolini said.

The committee hopes to have next year's statement completed by November and submitted to the MSBA well before the Jan. 11 deadline.

The committee had been eyeing a new school for years but was interrupted in 2009, when the school's locker room ceiling collapsed and the boilers needed to be replaced. The committee had then fallen apart and stopped meeting and has only recently reformed and rededicated itself to the effort.

The 2003 air quality study is available below.
MGRHS 2003 Air Quality Study
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