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|On target, on time|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, 14 August 2013 11:05|
The late afternoon sun slowly set over the marsh, filling the vast, unfinished future library with a quiet, warm August glow, one day closer to the opening of the highly anticipated new middle-high school building.
Just hours before the sun made its final descent, the site was a bustling hub of contractors, vehicles and machinery as drills and hammers echoed off the unfinished walls of the middle school and bricks were laid on the high school. On this sunny day, the complex progress was right on target.
With the new school year rapidly approaching, Dimeo Construction Company and KVAssociates are in high gear, working to “get dry,” and have all the windows in place, walls completed and roofs finished by fall.
Pre-construction work began in the spring of 2012 with final design and bidding. Throughout that summer, crews began site preparation behind Duxbury Middle School and in September foundation work for the academic building began. Through November and December, construction of the field house began and the structural steel work was started. Looking forward, the projected timeline includes a deadline of June 2014 for academic building completion with students occupying the new building in August 2014 and demolition of DMS and DHS in 2015.
The new school is being built behind the existing middle school, which will be demolished once students begin occupying the space. Elizabeth Lewis, school building committee chairperson, said plans exist for landscaping the area to create a front lawn entrance. The area of the existing middle school will be reorganized with parking and an improved path for vehicular traffic. Athletic fields that will be displaced from the middle school site will be renstalled at the site of the existing high school.
“I was at Norwood High School a couple of weeks ago to take a look at their building and they did the same thing,” she said. “They built their new school behind the original school and now have a beautiful front entrance lawn because they pushed the school back.”
Dave Lewek of KVA, said he is impressed with Dimeo’s work on the site, which is not entirely convenient for construction.
“It’s a tight site, but they made it work,” he said. “They are known for doing things on tight sites and they’ve done a great job here.”
As construction continues, layers of the building continue to grow. From front to back, stonework is being done on the front entrance at the high school and guidance offices and brick is being laid on the outer walls. When finished, the school will be part of the more than 65-acre St. George Street Campus, which will also include Alden School and the Duxbury Free Library.
The building design allows middle and high school students to remain separated during classes but encourages integration in shared areas like the band and orchestra rooms, the art room and the cafeteria. The gyms and locker rooms will also be separate for high school and middle school students.
Lewek said in comparison in to the design of the existing schools, the new building has a much better ratio of physical area and usable space.
“With this specific design, the building is going to be used much more efficiently,” he said.
The new school also boasts specific rooms for high school science classes that have been fitted with gas lines for things like Bunson burners, as well as prep rooms for students. The science rooms measure approximately 1400 square feet in size, while a regular size high school classroom measures about 900 square feet. About a dozen small areas will also be designated prac- tice rooms for the orchestra and band students. In addition, the school will be equipped with some high-tech features, including LED lights that will not only be motion sensitive but will have light sensors to increase or decrease the amount of light they emit depending on the type of weather outside.
Lewis said the building was designed for an enrollment of 1,735 students, but she anticipates the number of students who actually occupy the building when it firsts opens will be higher.
In the past week, crews have begun masonry work on the exterior façade, gym, cafeteria and connector corridor, started installing interior drywall, started fireproofing the building, installing the curtain- wall and making a final push to complete work at the Field House. Looking forward, masonry work and interior drywall work will continue, as well as site work for the parking lots.
On Tuesday, crews poured the concrete slab for the cafeteria, which will be located underneath the new library.
With over 200 men and two women working on the project, Lewek said the project is right on target and going according to plan both structurally and financially. As the work site quieted down, he looked around the band room- to-be and remarked on their progress.
“We have been lucky to have gotten such a great crew to work on this project,” he said. “They are all very invested in it and getting it done quickly, which is great.”