Costly wiring problems found at Pilgrim Park

July 27, 2009

Workers preparing Pilgrim Park Middle School for a new heating and ventilation system discovered unexpected asbestos and wiring issues that will increase costs by $120,000, but district officials expect the project to finish on budget.

The initial phase of the project was budgeted at $160,000, but extra repairs to a variety of building systems will push costs to $280,000.

Officials have estimated the total cost of replacing the 51-year-old building's heating and ventilation system at $3.13 million.

Crews working on asbestos abatement discovered unforeseen building code violations, improper wiring and problems with the communications, security and smoke detection systems.

Some areas of the school had faulty or missing smoke and security censors. Another find: a "considerable portion" of communications system wiring was replaced several years ago, but never connected - the system continued to be operating off the old wiring. Workers also discovered improperly supported wiring.

All these surprises constituted numerous building code violations that would have rendered the building unusable upon inspection, said Jim Henderson, district energy manager.

Work to remedy the new-found problems is under way and will be completed by September. Henderson said the repairs will cost less to do now, while the ceiling is already down. With open access to wiring, the work can be done for 30 to 40 percent less than it otherwise could.

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