The Town of Bourne is moving to address problems recently raised relative to the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center. Efforts are underway to repair a number of concerns ranging from lack of heating to sewer, equipment and staffing issues.
Bourne Select Board chairman Peter J. Meier is the board’s liaison to the community center’s board of trustees. During the select board’s meeting on December 14, Mr. Meier relayed from the trustees a lengthy list of problems with the building.
Some of the issues raised included malfunctioning bathrooms in the Bourne Council on Aging’s activity room as well as in the gymnasium and laundry room. Other issues included no air conditioning in several of the council’s offices, kitchen appliances that are not working, mice in the building, spotty Wi-Fi accessibility and a lack of custodial support.
The community center is home to the Council on Aging, which operates five days a week, Monday through Friday, and the Bourne Recreation Department. The rec department operates six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The issues raised by the trustees affect both departments.
Town Facilities Manager Sean Feeney told the select board during its meeting last Tuesday, January 4, that broken windows in the building have been replaced and the gymnasium bathrooms are open and functional.
Mr. Feeney said pricing options are being explored for addressing problems with the bathrooms in the Bridging the Years area of the building. Options under consideration, he said, include fixing the existing sewer beneath the building’s slab and/or installing a pump above the slab.
There was a problem diagnosed with some valves in the building’s heating system, Mr. Feeney said, and new valves have been ordered and should arrive in a couple of weeks. He said part of the problem stems from different areas of the community center being powered by different heating equipment. In the Council on Aging, for instance, 18 separate heating units cover that area.
“It’s one of those things where some of the valves are bad, we don’t notice it,” he said, “where some areas have one valve that covers the entire area. It’s easily noticeable when that fails.”
Acting Town Administrator Glenn D. Cannon said many of the issues involving the community center are being impacted by supply chain and shipping delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Cannon said he inspected the bathrooms that day and “they looked really good.” Ultimately, though, repairs cannot be done without the parts, he said.
“If you don’t have the material, you can’t do the work, so it’s very difficult,” he said.
As for the issues related to Wi-Fi accessibility, it was agreed that the problem should be addressed by the town’s Information Technology Department, not Mr. Feeney.
Mr. Meier addressed the issue with custodial staffing at the community center. With the recreation department open six days a week, custodial needs extend far beyond the 40 hours a week the building’s lone custodian works.
The chairman said there are personnel contract matters to consider. Also, with the current surge in COVID, the building may be used less in the short-term, especially at night, since many in-person meetings have returned to a remote format. He suggested that Mr. Cannon meet with Mr. Feeney and Recreation Director Krissanne M. Caron about plans for the building’s use in the near future.
Mr. Meier added that addressing the various issues involving the community center and raised by the trustees will be a regular item on the agenda for the select board’s meetings. He said he would report back to the community center board of trustees as its representative from the select board.