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The Board of Health has questions about the suitability of the former middle school as an emergency shelter.

Adams Board of Health to See If Memorial Building Usable

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health wants to see if the vacant Memorial Building can be used as an emergency shelter. 

The board last week reviewed an indoor air quality report conducted by the state Department of Public Health and, although the report said there is not a substantial mold issue in the building, members still had questions.

"Bottom line is that ,,, there are minor things that need to be fixed and the school will be able to be used as a shelter once things have been settled," board member Bruce Shepley said at Wednesday's meeting.

The issue arose last year when emergency managers marked the building as the town's shelter and looked to possibly activate it during a winter storm. The Board of Health was taken aback because it was not involved in the process and had concerns about possible mold and other conditions in the building.

Shepley added that the town's emergency management group has failed to answer the board's concerns

"We have had no input from emergency management and I am not going to get involved and walk into something I am not familiar with," he said.  

Shepley said as far as he knows emergency management has been stocking the building with emergency supplies but according to the building inspector, more work needs to be done before the former middle school can be used as an official shelter or emergency dispensary.

The building inspector had told him the building has to be heated to at least 72 degrees in order for it to be used for events and Shepley had asked if this would be the case for an emergency shelter.

"I have questions about how it is heated, Does the auxiliary heater blow direct gas-heated air into the building and is it a filtered system?" he asked. "There may be fumes and we can't heat it to that with the existing  auxiliary heater so I wonder if that disqualifies it."

The building has been a touchy subject in town and although the roof has been replaced, the building is in need of a new HVAC system. The town floated ideas of creating elderly housing in the school, letting the Youth Center utilize it and/or creating a town community center, however, none of this has come to fruition.

Shepley noted that there is mold in the building and it was rated as "minimally acceptable" so he anticipated that future cleanup would be mandatory.

He asked to hold a future meeting with the building inspector and the town administrator to discuss cleanup, heating the building and the board's roll in emergency management.

Tags: Adams Memorial Middle School,   emergency shelter,   

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