Behind the scenes of maintaining a large school building

Over 2,000 students and teachers spend hours in the Regional every day, contributing to various, at times unavoidable, building and maintenance issues. 

Because of the unpredictability of these issues, teachers have learned to prepare for possible power outages.

“On one of the days that the power went out [history teacher] Ms. Anderson-Colonna came to class with printed papers because she knew that the power can’t always be trusted in the winter,” said junior Dean Mills.

Power outage issues persist in the lower school classrooms as well, according to Freshman Jackson Eisl.

“My Freshman Seminar and Math class both lost power and my teachers had planned for us to use our Chromebooks,” said Eisl.  “Because the power was out there was no Wi-Fi and we couldn’t do anything during class.”

Maintenance Director Brian Clancey explained these problems didn’t occur because of an issue within the school.

“The first big power outage we had was due to a power line being down in Jefferson, and the second power outage had to do with something else in town,” said Clancey. 

In addition to power outages, consistency of temperature is also an issue for classrooms. Some students notice a difference in the temperatures in some of their classes.

“My Spanish and Biology classes always seem to be quite hot,” said sophomore Dean Johanson. “It is especially uncomfortable on days that I have gym class because I come into class already hot.”

But other students said they do not pay much attention to the different temperatures.

“I haven’t really noticed any difference in the temperatures in my classes,” said senior Mikey Powers. “Though I do hear complaints from other people talking about their other classes.”

Clancey said that the different temperatures in classrooms has nothing to do with faulty heating.

“We try to let the teachers choose their own temperatures for their classrooms because they are the ones spending the most time in them,” said Clancey. “We try to keep the hallways around 70 degrees and the classrooms around 68.”

Over Christmas break, an incident took place in English Teacher Christoper Tarmey’s room.

“I received an email over winter break from Principal Mr. Beando telling me that there had been a leak in a steam pipe in my classroom,” said Tarmey. “Assistant Principal Mrs. DeSimone was there and sent me pictures. From what I saw it could only be described as a tropical rainforest.”

Tarmey said that he lost many items that he has gathered over his years of teaching at Wachusett.

“I lost all of my AP textbooks, many student projects spanning across many years, all of my students’ essay folders, and 15 years of teaching materials,” said Tarmey. “The textbooks are going to be replaced with newer ones, but all of the student projects and teaching materials are irreplaceable.”

Even some students lost valuable work in the leak. 

“I lost my essay folder that had all of the essays that I have written for Mr. Tarmey,” said senior Benjamin Long-Belil. “I also put a lot of effort into the Yale logo that I drew on the front of the folder.”

Clancey said that old pipes did not cause the problem, but rather, something that could not have been predicted.

“The reason the pipe broke is that the damper that leads to outside never closed, which allowed cold air to enter,” said Clancey. “The cold air coming in caused the fluid coils to snap.”

Despite these incidents this year, Clancey continues to maintain the building’s integrity.

 “Everything besides a few small things is all good at the moment,” said Clancey. “Knock on wood.”

Principal Bill Beando had only positive things to say about Wacusett’s maintenance staff.

“Mr. Clancey and the rest of the maintenance staff are very good at their jobs,” said Beando. “Problems like these occur multiple times a year and our maintenance staff is always quick to handle them.”