Water woes continue to plague the high school

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Water woes continue to plague the high school

Students pose with umbrella under  the latest leak in the library

Students pose with umbrella under the latest leak in the library

Samantha Whitney

Students pose with umbrella under the latest leak in the library

Samantha Whitney

Samantha Whitney

Students pose with umbrella under the latest leak in the library

KATELYN MOORE and JENNA TAORMINA

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For months, students and faculty have had to dodge falling ceiling tiles and avoid being drenched in run-off from the roof. The 20 year old roof has been leaking for years and, as of yesterday, the auditorium has been closed until further notice by mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken.

“The auditorium is not to be used. If it’s raining, we can’t safely have students in there. We don’t know if the structure will hold up,” said Romeo-Theken. “I knew it was bad but I didn’t know how bad it was. I had seen pictures and people told me, but I didn’t truly know how bad until I got here.”

The Class of 2017 was set to host a talent show tonight in the auditorium but it has been postponed indefinitely.

“It’s really annoying because we’ve had our talent show booked for nine to ten months,” said junior class Vice President Lauren Benchoff. “We’ve been planning this for a really long time since it’s an annual event and now we might not be able to have our biggest money-making fundraiser.”

The GHS theater department is also unsure of what will happen since students have been busy rehearsing their lines and putting together a set to perform a full scale musical “Into the Woods” on April 7, 8, and 9.

According to Superintendent Dr. Richard Safier, a statement of interest has been issued to the Massachusetts School Building Authority asking for an invitation into the program, in which the roof will be assessed in its entirety.

“They also help with making sure everything is done well and with integrity,” said Safier. This means that people from MSBA will be overseeing workers as the roof is repaired.

This can only happen if GHS receives an invitation into the program.

“Since 2011, the school community has indicated that if we could wait until 2016, the state would provide us with 50 percent or more of the cost,” said math teacher Gus Martinson. “But recently, the superintendent informed us that the funding will be requested in 2016, and the repairs won’t start until the summer of 2017.”

The field house roof has recently had extensive leaks. Gym teacher John Sperry has had to cancel gym class on rainy days.

“Some days a class would miss gym completely because the court would be unsafe,” said Sperry. “In the past, we would come off the areas that are wet and play around, but the leaks would develop in different spots and in the past some kids would get injured.”

Math teacher Jeff Maddalena has also faced his own troubles with his leaking roof. A student in his class narrowly avoided being hit by a ceiling tile as it fell down, but was unable to avoid the ensuing waterfall that rained down after. As the water poured down on his students, it also hit his projector.

“It was a major waterfall,” said Maddalena.  “Usually it just drips, but it was a waterfall that day. The projector eventually dried out after two days then worked.”

According to Romeo-Theken, the roof will be a priority in the near future.

“This is going to be next on the list. Not to repair, but to discuss,” said Romeo-Theken. “It’s the students who lose out. I will still get paid. The teachers will still get paid. It’s the students who lose out on the gym and auditorium.”

Click on the photos below to begin slideshow

Staff writer Julia Horne contributed to the story

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