Sutton High School and Middle School project update
High School should be ready to open in 2014
BY TOM REILLY
According to the school building committee and the project managers the goal is to have the new high school up and running in the fall of 2014. Photo Emily Hornsby School Building committee chair Wendy Meade and owner’s project manager representatives Jon Winikur and Tim Alix updated the Sutton Board of Selectmen at the Tuesday, June 19 meeting regarding the progress of the school building project. Meade said the goal was to update the board in terms of the budget and timeline of the school project
Winikur said bids were received last May for the main construction project. The budget approved by the town was just under $60 million, with the actual bids coming in about $2 million less, with TLT Construction as the low bidder. The groundbreaking took place last July and the temporary classrooms were in place for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. He noted that the project is currently in phase two of the construction.
Winikur said there were several events that pushed the project back anywhere from a total of four to eight weeks. A bid protest delayed the awarding of a contract and asbestos was found under the slab at the middle school. Finally, the relocation of utility poles by National Grid took longer than expected.
The upcoming activities include flat roofing and membrane at the middle school, completion of the exterior sheathing, construction of the exterior brick veneer on the high school, completion of the interior framing at the middle school, completion of the masonry and the structural steel at the auditorium, installation of the storm water detention system at the east parking lot, and the installation of underground utilities—storm water, propane, and science waste tanks.
He said the middle school should be ready for occupancy by the first quarter of the 2013 calendar year. The high school would then move out of the core building and into the modular classrooms. The renovation of the core building would continue through the summer of 2014. The goal was to have the new high school up and running by the fall of 2014. Then the modular classrooms could be removed, the original high school could be demolished, and the final grading of the site could take place.
Winikur said the committee remains “cautiously optimistic” and noted that the project has received favorable bids because of the current construction climate. He also noted the challenges of working on a project like this, which featured a variety of existing building components of various ages.
Meade invited the selectmen to ask any questions they might have about the project.
Selectman John Hebert asked about the size of the propane tanks used at the site and Alix said there were two, 1,000 gallon underground storage tanks, which would serve the kitchen and the science labs. Hebert also wondered if the large rock near Boston Road was to be used for the World War II Memorial inside the entrance to the old high school building, but Alix said that the boulder had been excavated during the construction and no one knew what it might be used for. Hebert’s final question had to do with the stone structure over by the original high school and was told it was the new well house for the water treatment facility. Alix noted that a new well was going to come online at the end of the project and that well house would be used to treat this water. Meade called it a “significant” structure,
with one of its two stories below ground.
Selectman Ken Stuart said he has not gotten any phone calls about issues with the project, but he did have a question about phasing. He said he heard there would be “pieces” of the original building that would be preserved. Winikur said that the one component that was always intended for reuse— though he did not know specifically where—was the granite slab on the face of the old high school that read “Sutton Memorial High School.” Winikur said this could be used as part of a seating area or else displayed somewhere on the property. “It’s something that we certainly want to find a good home to preserve.” Meade added that there were a number of other things would be going into the building—a time capsule, a number of plaques and memorials, and the 9/11 trees. She
said all of these things had been selected with community input.
Selectman Mike Chizy said he has been working for several years to get the World War II memorial inside the high school entranceway moved out to a rock near the flagpole and Winikur said there would certainly be space for this.
Stuart asked if the name of the school was going to remain Sutton Memorial High School, but Meade said she did not believe that this not within the responsibility of the School Building Committee. Winikur said that naming rights most often fell within the purview of the School Committee. Chizy suggested having a contest to name the new school.
Chizy said that “everything seems to be coming along great” and he stated that this update should answer a lot of questions. He told Meade that she had done a great job running the committee. “You’ve got a big whip, I hear,” said Chizy, but Meade demurred, saying that her whip was of only “moderate size.”
The School Building Committee was invited to return in six months with another update.