Westbrook school department makes progress on high school fire repair bills

The Westbrook School Department is awaiting final confirmation of its $1.3 million insurance claim for fire damage to the high school in July, according to Superintendent Peter Lancia.

Lancia said it hoped to sign the claim with Liberty Mutual by the end of the month. The claim covers the cost of some new wiring, furniture replacement and structural repairs.

Meanwhile, the ministry is seeking funding to fix what won’t be covered, namely work needed to fix building code violations that were discovered as a result of the fire but weren’t caused. by this one. The fire was caused by misuse of electrical cords and forced high school students to take distance learning courses for four months.

“Insurance covered most of the first phase, where repairs focused on the fire, but not on other code violations, or things like upgrading the technology in our meeting room. “Lancia said on Monday, referring to upgrades to the meeting room used by the city, such as microphones, cameras and broadcast equipment. Some of the equipment was damaged when the school’s sprinkler system was activated during the fire.

The city council agreed to allow the school department to borrow $570,000 from the state Department of Education to cover the majority of uninsured expenses, most of which relate to wiring upgrades and computer replacements. and other equipment.

About $290,000 of the state bond will be canceled, including $275,000 to be repaid over 10 years.

“The cost to address both fire-related damage and code compliance deficiencies at Westbrook High School was not anticipated, but
absolutely necessary,” according to city council documents. “While insurance coverage funded fire-related damage, the (state program) is an excellent funding mechanism to fund most code compliance costs not covered by insurance.”

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Initially Lancia had hoped that all wiring repairs would be covered by insurance as the old wiring could potentially start another fire.

Any other potential repair needs that arise can be covered by a state grant and loan, insurance payments and leftover money from Saccarappa and college extensions, Lancia has previously said.

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