News and Tribune

March 14, 2014

Clarksville Middle School needs TLC

Serious issues could cost big money for small school district

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — Between electrical transformers with leaking sewer lines above them, boilers with internal scale buildup, a perennially leaking roof and other problems, Clarksville Community Schools’ director of maintenance said he doesn’t know where to begin with Clarksville Middle School.

Rick Jackson said the aging building has a host of problems. Even with leftover bond money, he said he’s afraid it won’t begin to fix the laundry list of expensive repairs needed.

“I’ll be quite honest with you, I don’t think that $2 million is even going to touch it,” Jackson said, referring to a 2013 bond taken out for repairs. “We’ve got some major issues here at this school. I’d like some direction and know what you guys want to do,” he told the school board this week.

“We’re working on New Tech and that’s great, but we’re still working on these buildings here, as well.”

He said the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units have several problems. Their variable speed drives aren’t functioning, so they’re running at full speed the whole time they’re turned on.

He said other units built into rooms are either loud or not functioning properly, if at all. He said they could take a chunk of the bond money that’s left — about $1.6 million — and dedicate it to HVAC repairs, but that would mean tearing out a lot of the ducts in the school, too.

Aside from that, leaks in Charger Hall keep showing up in spite of repairs.

“The roof is rough,” Jackson said. “There are cracks all over, I’ve got leaks everywhere. My guys are constantly patching spots on the roof. We’ve got a big problem in Charger Hall right now.

“We keep chasing it, you think that you’ve got it and it springs up somewhere else.”

But transformers in the basement are one of the most serious problems, he said. After talking to Duke Energy and realizing the issue is the district’s responsibility, he said it could be a difficult and dangerous problem to fix.

“After talking to some of the people that have been here for a while, I’m hearing big, big numbers to move that stuff out,” Jackson said. “I honestly don’t know how it was ever even put there.”

Doug Wacker, board member, asked Jackson Tuesday night what he thought needed immediate addressing, but he said quantifying an ordered list would be difficult.

“That’s really difficult to [prioritize] because they’re all really essential,” Jackson said. “If we don’t patch the roof, we’re going to deal with drips and leaks all the time and that deals with other problems.”

Bill Wilson, board president, said after a series of quick fixes on big problems, the board needs to consider some serious renovation on the school. He said he doesn’t think it’s  been renovated since it was built in the 1960s.

“We have Band-Aided this facility for a long time,” Wilson said. “We’re way past that. It’s going to be a major construction; it will require [financial] bonding. I think we will discuss it, but as far as where I stand, we have Band-Aided long enough, we’ll have to move forward.”

The board suggested holding a work session to go over the problems with Jackson to create a plan.