Report details interior water damage at Town Hall

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The firm doing the outside work on Bridgton’s Town Hall on North High Street has given the town an estimate of $81,565 for “real basic repairs” to replace drywall and repair other damage done by water seeping into the building.

Anne Krieg, Director of Planning, Economic and Community Development, said recently that Doten Construction could get to work right away on the interior plumbing work, once the outside work is completed. They’ll also be putting in new doors, railings and windows. The building will need to stay closed for around another month, she said.

However, it is expected that the work to repair interior water damage will have to wait until the funds for that are included in next year’s budget.

The inside work would involve replacing and painting the drywall behind tongue-and-groove boards that in some places are showing signs of buckling. The board agreed it would be too expensive to also replace the boards. The work would also include replacing the acoustical ceiling tiles with a new 2’x2’ acoustical grid system, and installing new fluorescent lights on the ceiling to replace the existing sodium light fixtures.

Doten’s estimate comes on the heels of an interior building evaluation done by Casco Bay Engineering that concluded, “Uncontrolled moisture has been a major issue at the Bridgton Town Hall building.” The report blames ice damming at the roof eaves that enters the building at the top of the outside wall and drains down through the walls and into the crawlspace under the foundation.

Another source of the water damage was cited as rainwater that directly enters the crawlspace from the surrounding parking lot and drive areas.

The report found that some of the wall studs and timber posts at the back of the building “have sustained water damage that has progressed to deterioration of the existing sill plates and the bottom portion of the wall framing members.” But the report notes that exterior repair work done by Doten has corrected those issues.

Mold, anyone?

An accompanying report done by Environmental Safety & Hygiene Associates for Casco Bay Engineering looked at indoor air quality issues caused by the moisture intrusion. The report said engineers found evidence of fungal growth in the ceiling tiles in the gymnasium, with the highest concentrations found in the crawlspace. Airborne fungal spore concentrations were measured using indoor air samples.

“Slight to moderate elevations of airborne fungal spores in the form of Aspergillus/penicillium-like spores were detected in all of the areas tested (generally accessible), with the highest concentration in the crawlspace,” the report stated. “Given the condition of the structure and the lack of any visible or significant fungal growth, it is possible that there may be areas of hidden fungal growth in the exterior walls and crawl space.”

The environmental assessment recommended that any work done that impacts water-damaged building materials be done by “professional personnel using strict environmental controls. Uncontrolled removals could lead to spread of fungal spores, additional growth, facility contamination and occupational illnesses.”

The report also recommended that the town retain the services of a Certified Mold Remediation firm to address the conditions identified. It recommended “isolation of the areas, removal of the interior drywall, insulation, surface cleaning of the framing, restoration and post remediation air quality testing.”

At the Aug. 25 meeting, Krieg said she will be providing updates soon on the costs for replacing the roof and the furnace, the latter of which malfunctioned early this year. The funding for both items is not part of this year’s budget, and insurance claims notwithstanding, the money will need to be found elsewhere.

“We have to find funding this year” for the roof and furnace, agreed Town Manager Bob Peabody.

He said the town will be holding off this fall on the annual floor refinishing work that is done on the gym floor, due to the ongoing construction work. The good news is, he added, that “What has to be done cost-wise for the interior is a lot less money” than the exterior work.

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