Plumbing issue hits new East Veterans School | News


The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new East Veterans Elementary School, originally set for Tuesday, Sept. 26, has been postponed.

Due to a “plumbing issue” that took place over the weekend, school officials have been forced to temporarily move five classrooms. Plus, the ribbon cutting ceremony has been moved to Monday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m.

The school is at 11 Webster St. in Gloucester.

“Because of this disruption, we’ve decided to postpone the ribbon cutting so we can be back to normal operations when the celebration occurs,’ said Michael Gaffney, Community Engagement and Communications Coordinator for the Gloucester Public Schools.

Gaffney said the plumbing issue has been resolved.

According to Gloucester Superintendent Ben Lummis, the incident on Saturday took place while school officials were completing a “flush out” of the water lines at the school, causing one of the waste lines to clog and backup five toilets in classrooms and individual staff bathrooms on the first floor.

“On Monday, operating out of an abundance of caution, the contractor, the School Department and the city administration directed the industrial hygienist to do further surface testing of the floors that will take at least five days for results to be ready,” he said. “As a result of this additional precautionary testing, students in these five classes will return to their regular classrooms no earlier than Tuesday, Oct. 3.”

School and city staff, the building’s contractor and project manager responded immediately to the school and were on site Saturday and Sunday, Lummis said.

“The five classrooms and any impacted furnishings in them were cleaned and disinfected over the weekend by a commercial cleaning company and the building’s contractor,” he said. “To ensure that the schools and city follow all necessary cleaning and remediation standards, the city had an industrial hygienist on site on Sunday morning.”

The school opened in late August with parents dropping off their children at the new $66.7 million building. The school is designed to teach 440 students and was built with the Massachusetts School Building Authority approving a maximum grant of $26.9 million in reimbursements.

The new school features large classrooms with breakout rooms, a soaring atrium, extended learning areas, spacious music and art rooms and a Curiosity Commons library.

The gym features a fully equipped stage, plus an electronic scoreboard, parquet floors and porthole windows that double as seating. The school also features separate pickup and drop-off areas for cars and buses.

The school has brought together the students, teachers and staffs of the former East Gloucester and Veterans Memorial elementary schools in a single, consolidated building.

Veterans Memorial was torn down at the site to make way for the much larger combined school.

Stephen Hagan can be reached at 978-675-2708 or at Staff reporter Ethan Forman contributed to this story.