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Brown School Roof Collapse Update

Joint Brown School Update

from Mayor Joseph
Curtatone and Superintendent of Schools Tony Pierantozzi

Wednesday, March 11,

Late Tuesday evening, a flat
section of the Brown School roof that is above the second-floor girls
collapsed. Thankfully, the building was empty and no one was injured, but we
are no less concerned about this collapse. Student safety is always our utmost
priority, which is why the City and Schools undertook a massive snow removal
effort to clear snow from our school and city building roofs.

Best practices generally
allow up to 18 inches of snow on roofs. Our teams were instructed to remove any
excess snow to achieve safe depths well below that acceptable level, in most
cases to depths of 6 inches or less. All schools, including the Brown School,
were evaluated for roof snow prior to, during and after completion of snow

We are still in the midst of
a full evaluation of this incident, but our initial review of the cause of the
collapse points to the likely combination of several possible contributing
factors, none of which would have caused the collapse on their own including,
among others: (1) melting of the less than 1 foot of snow on that section of
the roof, (2) wood rafters that were found today to be weakened by pre-existing
partial rotting that would not have been evident without ripping open the walls
as there were no visible leaks, (3) rain that added additional water to the
roof overnight. But again, we are still in the midst of a full evaluation and further
updates will be provided.

To allow for full inspection
and repairs, the Brown School building will remain closed for at least a month,
but classes will resume as soon as possible at alternate locations. We are in
the process of preparing and outfitting classrooms for Brown School students as


students will temporarily attend the Capuano Early Childhood Center,

1-5 students will be at the Edgerly School, and

6 students will be at the East Somerville Community School.

The setup and transfer of
classroom materials is a significant move, and we are working as quickly as
possible to complete it. Classes for students are canceled for Thursday, March
12, as this preparation continues. Parents, guardians and teachers will be
notified as soon as the alternate locations’ rooms are ready for classes. Until
further notice, all Community Schools after-school activities will be shifted
to the Edgerly School beginning Thursday, March 12. 

Parent and Guardian Meeting 

All Brown School parents and
guardians are invited to attend a meeting tomorrow evening, Thursday, March 12
at 6:30 p.m., at the East Somerville Community School Auditorium to discuss the
temporary relocation of classes and to have any additional questions or concerns
addressed. This meeting is for families. Media will be allowed to attend, but to ensure that parents and guardians feel comfortable and that they have the floor during this informational session, cameras will not be allowed and media are asked to hold their questions. All City and School officials will be available to take media questions after the meeting, and are also available at all times to respond to press queries.







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