As has been stated in many reports, the structural parts of the building envelope are generally sound. However, the window walls in areas are floor to ceiling are failing, rotted steel frames are weakening their integrity, and the cold air seepage at the exterior including at unit ventilators - are all imminent threats for failure throughout the building. Much of these failures are being handled on a triage/emergency basis, but a larger study is warranted for strategies in replacing and dealing with facility inadequacies on a larger scale.
The building interior includes concrete block walls, and some sheet rock walls. In many areas it features a dated drop in acoustic ceiling tile system with modular fluorescent lighting (old T-8 fixtures w/ electric ballasts). The flooring systems include the original terrazzo in all corridors, VCT type tile flooring in all classrooms and cafeteria area, and some carpet in offices and meeting spaces.
All vocational areas have painted concrete. The building currently has three separate emergency generators with emergency circuits run throughout the building.
Blue Hills takes great pride in the fact that our facility is in good structural condition, in general. Blue Hills continues to mitigate problems and failures on an ongoing basis regarding the HVAC loop in the entire building. Blue Hills is faced with replacing glass and repair the original rusted steel frames at an increasingly rate lately.
Cold air seepage through windows walls and uni-ventilators affects both students and staff for most of the school year. Over time this is becoming a greater concern in the large cavernous areas of certain vocational programs whose HVAC systems cannot recover fast enough from cold conditions due to cold-air seepage, inferior glazing, and undersized gas heating units.
All motor driven HVAC equipment that is original to the 1965 and 1972/74 designs have reached, or are beyond, the end of their useful life. The existing pneumatic controls system (and air compressors) should be replaced by a direct digital control (DDC) system. All unit ventilators and associated exhaust fans that are original to the building should be replaced as well. There are many shut-off/isolation valves that are determined to no longer function properly - negatively impacting troubleshooting and routine maintenance of the systems.
Entry Systems & Doors
Original to the construction of the building, these systems are rusting out and are repeatedly noted as potential egress failures issues by the local building inspector each time we renew our occupancy permits.
The doors and hinges have failed in the frames on a regular basis, and in some cases a last resort has been to install roton hinges to make them as functional as possible. Many of the entry doors do not close properly into the frames, which creates a potential security risk throughout the facility. Our current entry policy is for all exterior doors to be secured and all visitors to enter through the main entrance with the security officer. The condition of the exterior entry door units are making this policy unenforceable.
Lighting & Electrical
The structure for the main building and it's addition is reinforced concrete. The exterior walls are primarily made up of concrete masonry unit (CMU) back up walls with 1" rigid insulation, 1" air space, and brick veneer.
The original building roof structure has steel trussed bar joists and tectum, while the later addition building has a precast concrete roof deck.While the vocational overhead doors were replaced some time ago, the existing condition of the building heating system and the window walls create a situation with serious heat loss and outside air infiltration.