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|New school prepped for winter|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Tuesday, 26 November 2013 12:05|
Exterior construction on the new co-located middle and high schools is nearly complete and the building is prepared for construction to continue throughout the winter, the school committee learned last Wednesday.
Dave Lewek, of KVAssociates, and Elizabeth Lewis, School Building Committee chair, presented a timeline and progress report to the School Committee during last week’s meeting, highlighting the push for finishing touches at the high school and exterior completion at the middle school.
Lewek walked the committee through a photo slideshow of the project, starting with the beginning of the project 15 months ago. Many parts of the site had to be raised as much as 10 feet and construction crews had to figure out how to do a large project on such a small site. Once the heavy rollers and compactors secured the ground for the foundation, crews worked fast and furiously, placing the last steel beam on the frame on April 8 of this year. Fast forwarding to the most current pictures, Lewek showed the immense progress of the project. So far, the entire exterior has been completed except for one portion of the middle school and the skylights along “Main Street,” or the main corridor of the school. The skylights are scheduled to arrive on Dec. 2. In the courtyard area of the high school, the concrete for a sidewalk along the perimeter will be poured this week, along with an area that will serve as a sort of patio.
“Now it’s really a race to beat the weather,” Lewek said. “Once the courtyard is completed it will be quite a lively place.”
One other large area crews are focusing on is the black box theater, which will have seating for 300 when it is completed. Current interior construction involves priming and painting classrooms, installing cabinetry and preparing rooms for furniture and teachers’ belongings.
“The large areas require the least construction and are currently the least finished,” Lewek said. “Dimeo has a lot of experience and really knows how to orchestrate a large building project like this.”
After showing the committee a current aerial view of the entire campus, Lewis explained the significant importance of decreasing the overall surface area of the schools with the new school.
“Any time you can stack your space and minimize surface area is a good thing,” she said. “It helps with building maintenance and conservation of energy.”
Dimeo has set a completion date of June 9 for the construction project. After that date crews will work with the superintendent, administration and teachers to move furniture and classroom belongings to the new school before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Once the buildings have been decommissioned, Dimeo will begin demolition with the middle school first. School Committee member Kellie Bresnahan expressed concern with the noise level of the demolition, but Lewis assured her the demolition would be no more disruptive than the current construction.
“We are taking the buildings down piece by piece; we are not blowing anything up,” she said. “If you look at the building, there is only one side that faces the middle school, so only those ones will be affected.”
“There are always challenges that come up and everyone has been so responsive,” she said.
Lewis said she credits the success of the project to the support of town offices and the school administration.