Circ activation contest

Rossiter in need of new boiler

2010-01-27T00:00:00Z Rossiter in need of new boilerBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
January 27, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Rossiter Elementary is the Helena School District’s largest site by acreage, but the school is in need of a new boiler, asbestos abatement and accessibility to the playground for students with disabilities.

Those were three of the needs noted in a facility assessment report presented by John Carter, director of support services, at a board work session held Tuesday night at Rossiter.

The 43,790-square-foot school sits on more than 31 acres on Sierra Road and was originally built in 1966. In addition to the 483 students who attend the school and its 64 employees, the north valley school houses a Head Start program where nearly 40 students go to preschool.

The building is 75 percent of the recommended size according to Wyoming’s education standards, which the district uses since Montana doesn’t have its own established standards. The assembly and administrative space is adequate, but the classroom space is 73 percent of what Wyoming recommends.

The lone boiler for the building is running at a 65 percent efficiency rate.

“That’s not really where we want to be,” Carter said, adding that he considers the boiler for hot water heat a priority to upgrade.

The school’s ventilation, like most Helena schools, does not meet current ventilation standards and the electrical and plumbing aspects of the building are at the end of their service life.

The roof will need replacement in the next six to 10 years and is estimated to cost between $490,000 and $635,000.

The building has asbestos, which is always a consideration when discussing improvements, Carter noted.

The playground has accessibility issues as well as the modular building where music classes are held. Carter said sometimes services are brought to children when accessibility issues arise.

The estimated total cost of improvements is between $2.8 million and $3.63 million over the next 10 to 15 years.

Facility assessments are presented at schools every month this year as way for the district to determine its building needs. Next month an assessment on Jim Darcy is scheduled.

Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

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(11) Comments

  1. Forward
    Report Abuse
    Forward - January 29, 2010 9:31 am
    Rossiter is a great school. Didn't know about the big fixes needed.

    The custodian is a nice guy. The School District should do the school and him a favor by helping him get his license. Would be good for both party's.

    The right fix? Rebuild and add on to Rossiter (and Jim Darcy) and add another Middle School right on Rossiters property. The Rossiter Middle School, or whatever. God knows we need it. Helena is only going to grow, especially the valley.

  2. skysthelimit
    Report Abuse
    skysthelimit - January 27, 2010 2:45 pm
    AHH! I inadvertently reported abuse instead of posting a reply. Sorry! Sorry!
    Rossiter was built in 1966 or something like that. The boiler exceeded its life expectancy. Its over 40 years old and functions only because of the good care it has received.
  3. The Big L
    Report Abuse
    The Big L - January 27, 2010 2:40 pm
    I used to own a business that had a boiler in it. I had to contract with a licensed boiler operator otherwise the state wouldn't issue the boiler certificate saying that it could be run. I wonder if they have stopped doing inspections? It wouldn't surprise me if the lack of a licensed operator is the reason that the boiler isn't performing.
  4. Yankfan
    Report Abuse
    Yankfan - January 27, 2010 2:32 pm
    I do believe that all of the school that still have the boilers with asbestos have been sealed at the expense of the tax payers. Plus if the school needs to have a new boiler installed - leave that old one alone plus we as taxpayer pay to have a plumber that is on staff full time with the school district. So why do we need to pay another company to install a new one? I know for a fact that this would a higher cost to the taxpayers that is a total waste. Hello, if we have a maintence crew on staff why would the board not just impletment the cost to replace? It is just the cost to run our school system.
  5. Mommyof4NMT
    Report Abuse
    Mommyof4NMT - January 27, 2010 1:20 pm
    The Big L--- I know for a fact that there is not a person with a boilers license that works in that school. Take the day custodian, he is around the children day in and day out and deals with the boiler, but he does not have a boilers license. Probably does not help the situation of needing a new one when you have someone there that is supposed to have one. Was it his lack of license and knowledge of boilers that led to this situation? If you really want to get technical you should look up the list of custodians that actually DO have a boilers license, you wont find too many out there.
  6. The Big L
    Report Abuse
    The Big L - January 27, 2010 12:38 pm
    Since they already have a boiler, they should already have someone with a boiler license. At least I would hope so.
  7. Mommyof4NMT
    Report Abuse
    Mommyof4NMT - January 27, 2010 11:33 am
    Thats a bit creepy to have asbestos in the school, but then again dont you need someone with a boilers license to be able to run a new one? Something to think about.
  8. The Big L
    Report Abuse
    The Big L - January 27, 2010 10:01 am
    A lot of homes have it as well. If you have that "popcorn" painted ceiling it is most likely asbestos.
  9. skysthelimit
    Report Abuse
    skysthelimit - January 27, 2010 9:19 am
    The heating system upgrade can't be completed because it would disturb the sealed asbestos. Rossiter's Parent council has raised money to remodel the library and cannot follow through with their plans because to do so may disturb the sealed asbestos. What now?
  10. Independent
    Report Abuse
    Independent - January 27, 2010 8:52 am
    Yes many schools have asbestos in them. It was a cheap effective fire retardant and in 1966 no one knew there could be a problem if you are exposed to asbestos in its raw form for years. Unless the kids are licking it for their entire 6 years in the school they will be fine. I attended Central School, Helena Middle School and Helena High and all three used asbestos. Now instead of extremely expensive removal, the accepted method is to seal it in place and now disturb the asbestos breaking it up and forming dust that can be ingested.

    The heating system would seem to be job one to be more efficient and in time save money for the school system.
  11. skysthelimit
    Report Abuse
    skysthelimit - January 27, 2010 7:25 am
    Our schools have asbestos? Wonderful! How do we go about correcting that GIANT blunder?

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