‘In the Meantime, Open the Windows’

July 24, 2015


by Barbara O’Brien

Windham School Board members are still attempting to solve the dilemma of high carbon dioxide levels in some of the classrooms at Golden Brook School.  Built back in the 1960s, Golden Brook houses students from kindergarten through second grade.

The carbon dioxide level became a concern more than a year ago when the former portable classrooms were tested for air quality.  The 10-classroom portable building was subsequently demolished and students were relocated elsewhere in the school district.  While the portables were ultimately abandoned because of mold and mildew levels, the issue of carbon dioxide was also of concern.  An excess level of carbon dioxide tends to make a person, particularly children, feel lethargic.

One of the problems with addressing the carbon dioxide level is that Golden Brook School might be undergoing extensive renovations within the next year, due to space constraints.  A construction project, dubbed as Option 2+, is currently being developed and committee members hope to have it on next March’s school district ballot.  School board members don’t want to spend money now on ventilation changes if those changes won’t be applicable should the construction bond garner sufficient support from voters next spring.

In the meantime, a concept for an electrical mechanical ventilation system has been designed for the building, one that committee members claim would be usable even if Option 2+ passes muster.  The cost of the ventilation project could range between $150,000 and $200,000.  “It is a costly endeavor,” said School Board Vice-Chairman Tom Murray.

It is doubtful that the work could be done this summer, however, due to both time and budget constraints.  Looking down the road, however, Murray asked that the ventilation project be put out to bid as soon as possible.  “I’d like to see us move as fast as we can, in a fiscally efficient manner,” said school board member Daniel Popovici-Muller.  Newly hired school district Maintenance Director John Pratte will be further vetting the concept, moving forward.

Taking the practical approach, Business Administrator Adam Steel commented, “In the meantime, open the windows as much as possible!”