LOWELL (CBS) – The Board of Health in Lowell voted to shut down the city’s high school. The problem is they have no authority to do that.
“We were trying to make a statement,” said board member Dr. John Donovan.
The board cited multiple safety violations in a city inspector’s report. Those violations include leaky ceilings in classrooms, exposed insulation in the gym wall and electrical wires exposed to water in a student walkway.
City Manager Kevin Murphy, who was unaware of the surprise Wednesday night vote until Thursday morning, called the action “incendiary”, claimed that the school is safe, and will remain open.
Murphy said many of the items in the report have already been fixed and he says the school department, building department and fire chief have all signed off on the high school being safe to inhabit.
But Dr. John Donovan says the repair process is not moving fast enough and the board wants to “light a fire” under the feet of those in city government who can speed up the process.
The Board of Health vote comes about a week before city officials need to decide whether to make renovations to the aging high school or build a new one.