Monday, February 3, 2014

The McLellan: Shame, shame on Bowdoin College, or ????

The other day we noted our regrets that the photos we posted of degradation to the exterior of The McLellan were not close up enough, or large enough, to give you the real details of the problems here on our pages.  We know how insatiable your thirst is for such knowledge.

Ever helpful as we are, we drifted by again today with a different camera, and tried to do a better job of getting up close and personal to the damage. In the process we discovered a few more details, which we will enlighten you with below.

We’re not sure who is responsible for allowing things to get this out of hand, especially since we don’t have any of the details of the transition in ‘ownership’ of the building.  Just as well; if we looked at the relevant documents, we’d probably get a case of MAV (municipal anxiety vapors.)

A few things are clear, however.  Bowdoin College, to the extent they allowed these conditions to fester due to lack of maintenance, lack of interest, lack of caring, or whatever, should drop several notches on the reverence scale according to which the town treats them.

And those on the town side who are afflicted with what we have labeled TRS (Times Record Syndrome) should be taken out to the woodshed, if it’s still standing.  If not, they should be turned inside out and scraped down with a nice stiff wire brush.

None of this really matters much, though.  Because it’s abundantly clear that the ones who are going to pay for this, no matter how much it ends up costing, are Side and that person you see in the mirror in the morning. 

Taxi Companies and Bowdoin Buildings – who’d have guessed they would have something in common.

Lest you think the problems are only at ground level, here’s a shot of a second story window showing substantial paint failure, splitting, and likely dry rot (or wood going ‘punky,’ as my contractor calls it.


Some significant potential for damage above a window.


Bad signs all the way around, in all likelihood the first stages of water damage on the back side showing up on the front side.


Sill trim, which may actually go under the windows, showing problems.


More of the same.


Look in the lower corner of the window trim; with the problems we had at Side offices, we should all be very afraid.


Now it’s time to be very, very afraid.  This is wood rotting away, pure and simple, allowing water incursion to new and ‘more interesting’ places.


Another corner with the same sort of problems.  In all likelihood, this illustrates poor construction design and/or materials, not to mention the absence of regular inspection and repair.


Damage showing along several feet of a vertical trim board, along with cracking/splitting along the end grain.  Again, probably not the best design/construction.


Ditto on vertical trim and joints.


Window failure of a number of types; mullions, trim, dual pane seals.


I’m guessing you can push a dull screw driver all the way through the trim board below.  As in, it’s gone.


Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.  Does anyone on town staff or the council have friends or relatives in the exterior carpentry and finish business?


Hey, this is only a back door; no one will notice.



Now here’s a look ‘inside the building.’  Too bad this isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.  Now you know what we mean by “who knows what evil lurks beneath the skin of The McLellan?”  We didn’t touch this, but it’s clear the trim board is completely rotted away, and sheathing or other underlying materials are showing through.  Keep in mind this means water continues to pour in and is wicking its way all over, since any ‘integrity’ the exterior might have once had is now gone.


Ditto, more or less.  This one could inspire an office pool on how far up the board you go before you find solid wood.  It makes us think of the Johnny Cash song “How high’s the water, Mama?”


The other day, thinking we were jesting, we made this comment, harking back to the horrible care of the ‘old High School:’

Next thing you  know we’ll see a tree growing out of a crack in the trim on an upper floor.

Well, what do you know?  We were more ‘spot on’ than we realized.  Here we see vines coming from the surrounding planters and growing up behind various fascia and trim materials.  Once again, evidence of virtually no attention to maintenance or ‘pride of ownership.’


Déjà vu, The McLellan type.


“Five feet high and rising.”


Déjà vu all over again.  Including vines.


“Ivy covered” municipal buildings, anyone?  Surely we can’t harm the lovely plantings by ripping them out so we can fix the building.  Maybe that’s what it was; a reluctance to interfere with ‘nature’s course’ as it relates to a man-made building.


Here’s a couple of days work that could lead to who knows what.  It’s a good thing we all love surprises around here.


Why you little boogers, you.  I thought we had some witches come by to cast a spell on you, so you’d leave the building alone!

Maybe spells don’t work after all.


Ho hum!  This is getting old.


Don’t tell anybody, but this could be a second story job.


With keystone or without.


In closing, we’d sure like to hear some of those who constantly tell us what a fine citizen Bowdoin College is explain how this state of affairs came to be, and how honestly they dealt with us and disclosed building issues when the negotiations took place for the great exchange.

Not that it matters much, given school and town ‘professional’ staff’s impeccable record in managing such things, and stewardship of the physical assets entrusted to them.

Due negligence, thy name is Brunswick.  We’re not silly enough to believe we’re unique in such things; it’s just we have enough things to deal with here in the Cape without having to look elsewhere.  Perhaps a new town swimming pool, upgraded to year-round, will help get rid of the bad taste all of this leaves.

It’s going to take a lot of chlorine, though.

(Ed note: Given the town council’s ‘new directions,’ and the Chair’s responsiveness to emails from constituents, we notified them earlier today that we would gladly make a full set of the digital image files available.  And we didn’t ask for a forgivable loan from the BDC to pay for it.)

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