‘Obsolete’ Pentucket High School Closes for Water Repair

Pentucket Regional High School.

Repairs to a broken six-inch water main supplying water to Pentucket Regional High School, West Newbury, forced the closure of the high school Tuesday.

The school serves Groveland, West Newbury and Merrimac.

The water main break was discovered late Sunday night on route 113 by a West Newbury police officer on patrol. A rise in the roadway elevated vehicles driving in the area. Crews determined that the rise was caused by a water main break. Once the water valve at the high school was turned off, the pressure subsided, and the roadway leveled off again, according to a news release.

Gregory Hadden, facilities manager for the Pentucket Regional School District, reported, all possible solutions are being evaluated to minimize cost and risk, the gas main to the school complex is in the same area as the water main, so digging will be a careful process and water will be brought in by the barrel to feed the high school’s boilers if necessary.

“The water main that broke is the same vintage water line that broke under the high school last April and also seven years ago. The school district is seeking a permanent solution and a complete water main replacement,” Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen said.

According to Mulqueen, Pentucket Regional school District is developing a statement of interest for possible submission to the MSBA (Massachusetts School building Authority) “to address the growing concerns about the obsolete infrastructure and other substantial facility deficiencies at PRHS.”

“The obsolete high school facility continues to draw funds away from the implementation of innovative educational programs in the District,” Mulqueen said.

“Dramatically over-running a $20,000 budget for maintenance, this year alone, approximately $100,000 of funds scheduled for high school repairs have been expended and an additional $100,000 may be required for unanticipated emergency repairs.”