Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Committee votes bond for new roof

Photo by Ralph Stewart

In the first meeting of a new school year, on Monday night the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) school committee voted unanimously to award the sale of $1,884,628 in bonds to UBS Financial Services to finance the high school’s new roof, which was installed over the summer.

School business administrator Amy Tierney recommended that the committee approve the bond sale to UBS as the low bidder with an offer of 2.077 percent interest annually over 10 years. Ms. Tierney said that starting in 2014, the MVRHS school district would pay $180,000 per year, which includes the total costs of the project and a few extra items requested.

Ms. Tierney said although it was originally estimated the project might cost up to $2.65 million, that figure included unit pricing as a contingency for unanticipated expenses that might be incurred for conditions discovered during the installation. As it turned out, there was less damage and deteriorated insulation and substructure than anticipated, she said.

The project began in 2012, when the entire roof was evaluated, existing conditions documented, and replacement costs estimated. The high school’s fiscal year 2014 budget included the first interest payment towards the project in anticipation of a permanent bond. The school committee voted in April 2013 to incur the debt and initiated the bond process, notifying the Island towns of a potential bond issue estimated at $2.65 million.

The school district put out a request for qualifications for a roofing engineer and designer and selected Russo Barr from Burlington to design the bid for the roof and write the specs. Following a bid process, Wayne Roofing Systems from Foxboro was selected as the DCAM-certified roofing contractor as the low bidder at $1,478,000.

Ms. Tierney said the contract included that amount, plus unit pricing to repair additional damage or deterioration that might be discovered during the project. In June the school district borrowed funds to get the project started. Edgartown National Bank offered the lowest interest rate on a temporary note, at 0.94 percent. Ms. Tierney said the note will cost around $2,900 and is due on October 1.

The roofing project started on June 25, the day after school got out. Ms. Tierney said MVRHS facilities manager Greg Hines acted as the project manager, which saved money. Mr. Hines, who has a construction supervisor’s license, was on site every day during the roofing project, including weekends and holidays, she added.

Russo Barr, which did the contract administration, remained on the project to do weekly inspections and oversee construction. Construction went well, with no change orders, and the final punch list was reviewed September 6. A final construction meeting will be held in October.

A representative from the roofing product manufacturer was on site during installation of the roof, which has a 20-year warranty. Ms. Tierney said additional items the high school requested above the contract price, which were included in the final price when completed, included permanent ladders between the roof sections, extra walkway pads to protect the surface where workmen walk, and repair of the metal roof on the greenhouse building.

A good start

In other business, MVRHS accounts manager Mark Friedman said there are few budget concerns right now, as the high school starts a new year. Although staff changes include 23 new and reassigned faculty members, Mr. Friedman said the overall financial impact leaves the salary budget line $13,000 in the black.

Principal Stephen Nixon said the high school had a great opening day. He noted that for the first time in many years, the school’s enrollment topped 700, at 703. Mr. Nixon thanked upper classmen in the Peer Outreach program for giving up one of their last days of summer vacation to take part in helping freshmen on their orientation day.

Assistant principal Andrew Berry, who oversees the freshmen opening day program, said activities that included a school-wide scavenger hunt and game competitions between home rooms helped make the incoming class of 185 students feel comfortable in their new school.

Superintendent of schools James Weiss introduced Robert (Bob) Drobneck, the high school’s new vocational education director, who received a warm welcome. At Mr. Weiss’s request, the school committee voted to accept the retirement of custodian Raphel “Ray” Fusco and approved extended family leave for music teacher Abigail Chandler. The committee also accepted the resignations of drama director and teacher Katharine Poole and computer science/arts teacher Alan J. Mahoney, who took a similar position at West Tisbury School.

The committee also heard from Student Council president Mary Allen, who introduced Junior Class vice president Josie Iadicicco and president Michael Mazza. They are taking the reins from her this year in giving student reports to the school committee. Ms. Allen said freshmen and sophomores will attend an assembly program on September 25 to learn about all the clubs the high school has to offer. New club interests this year include French, martial arts, and baking. Parents’ Back to School night is September 26, starting at 7 pm in the Performing Arts Center.

Budget workshops set

At Mr. Weiss’s suggestion, the school committee set dates for workshops to draft an FY15 budget on October 7 at 6 pm; October 21, 8 am; November 4, 6 pm; and November 18, 8 am. Lisa Reagan of Oak Bluffs, Janet Packer of Tisbury, and Roxanne Ackerman of Aquinnah agreed to serve on the budget subcommittee. Town officials and finance committee members are encouraged to attend the meetings, which are open to the public and held in the high school’s library conference room.