Originally published August 21, 2013
Halls of Learning
Are they crumbling at MCHS?
Thursday, August 22, 2013 5:00 AM
Madison Consolidated High School received a failing grade in a recent study of Madison Consolidated School District buildings.
Madison Consolidated High School opened in 1961. A recent study revealed the building is insufficient in several areas. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Correction - August 22, 2013
Madison Consolidated High School opened in 1960. The class of 1961 was the first to graduate from the school.
The survey was conducted by Schmidt Associates as part of a building feasibility study by the school district.
The high school scored 48 out of 100 in student suitability.
The high school opened in 1960.
High School Principal Kevin Yancey and Director of Operations Mike Frazier said many of the problems the school faces start at the roof and work their way down.
The flat, segmented 336,000-square-foot roof is a source of constant concern. The roof's flashing - thin pieces of material that run along joints of a roof to keep water from seeping in - is pulled up off the sides of the roof and is tearing. Those holes let water in that eventually seeps through the walls damaging the ceilings and facade of the building.
"The facade is actually coming off the auditorium," Yancey said as he pointed out cracked and broken bricks along the side of the building.
Yancey said bricks regularly have to be replaced and tuckpointed.
Another issue with the roof is standing water. Because the roof isn't gabled "if it rains more than two inches, you'll have standing water up here," Frazier said.
"Flat roofs, we hate them. If you would just put a gabled roof on this, you wouldn't have a lot of these problems."
And because some sections of the roof are elevated above others, some of the lower sections end up taking on large volumes of water.
"They turn into pools," Yancey said.
The roof has several drains that filter the water from the roof.
Yancey said that two-thirds of the roof was redone two years ago. Before that, buckets were used along the roof to try to prevent any major leaks.
Heating and Cooling
Another issue that can only be seen when on top of the building is the way the school is heated and cooled.
"Every heating and cooling mechanism is different in this building," Yancey said.
The main stretch of the school, the A and B wings, are heated and cooled with a set of four boilers, while the C wing is run on electric and other areas of the school use gas heat and cooling units to control room temperature.
"What you want to do, is do a central unit. It's cheaper, it's more efficient," Yancey said.
Several of the HVAC units used to cool the school are around 25 years old, Yancey said.
"Those units are shot," he said. "They're meant to live 15 years. So, we've exceed their life expectancy already."
The school uses salvaged parts from air conditioning units that were formerly used at E.O. Muncie Elementary School.
Maintenance crews took the elementary school's old air conditioning units after that building's heating and cooling systems were upgraded a few years ago.
Inside the School
Water damage can be found throughout the school in the form of rust around windows, damaged ceiling tiles and, in some areas, caved in ceilings.
"We have patches like that throughout the building," Yancey said while inspecting a room that is rarely used because of extensive ceiling damage. "But we put drop ceilings around it. We have to hide it as best we can."
Much of the school's plumbing is rusted or held together with tape.
Electrical wiring also is deficient.
Most of the school isn't wired into grids. Grids place parts of the school's wiring in the same loop, which would allow specific areas of the school to be shut down when work needs to be done. Instead, as additions have been made to the school throughout the years, electrical lines were never rearranged into grids.
"It's been hodgepodged," Yancey said.
"If you ask me, at any building I've been principal at, I could tell you how to shut down the power. I can't tell you how to shut down the power to this building," he said.
Frazier said at one time, the building was state-of-the- art.
"When this was first built, at the time, this place was unbelievable," he said.
But old age, he said, combined with wear and tear are showing.
Hallways and bathrooms were also noted in the inspection.
The school's hallways, with the exception of the C wing, are too narrow, the study said.
"They're like a clogged artery," Yancey said.
The same goes for the school bathrooms. The entrances to which are small and have tight corners, which make it difficult for students in wheelchairs or on crutches to navigate.
Frazier said many handicapped students have to go down to the C wing bathrooms to use the facilities.
The school, Yancey said, also has asbestos throughout the ceiling tiles.
"This whole wing is full of asbestos," he said. "It'll have to come out. It's checked and it's legal right now but, you'll see old tiles that have come up"
"What they did 25 years ago, they stuck carpet over it. Which is stupid. Because it costs money to clean it up."
The school's gym is also an area that isn't up to code.
Frazier said the rafters need to be raised to meet with new government codes.
There is also no locker room or changing area for visiting schools coming to play Madison teams.
"We're trying to be a good host to these schools," Yancey said.
The next meeting to discuss future Madison Consolidated Schools building projects is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.