School building project ‘on track and under budget’
Students to attend classes in new building March 30
By Amanda Collins
Sutton – High school and middle school students in Sutton will get to enjoy the end of the academic year in their new schools, as the School Building Committee recently announced that the project is on track to meet its April deadline.
The move into the new building is a milestone for town and school officials who have been working on the project for years.
“This has been a long time coming,” said town administrator Jim Smith. “When I first became town administrator in 2007 there was a school building committee talking about this at that point. And here we are eight years later.”
High school students will be moved out the middle school building and into the core over the weekend of March 28, with the students attending their first day of classes in the new building on Monday, March 30.
Beginning Monday, March 23, MCAS exams will be administered to Sutton High School students taking the test in the core building.
Crews will give the middle school a thorough cleaning and move furniture and supplies in during the week of March 30. Middle school students and faculty will officially move from the modulars into the building on Monday, April 6.
The modulars have housed classrooms since the fall of 2013. Smith said they are being sold to Triumph Modulars for $45,000, explaining that the money will “essentially offset the debt exclusion override,” taking a little off of what is owned on the project.
Sutton School Building Committee chair Wendy Mead said the plan is to remove the units over April vacation.
“The next step will be getting the athletic fields and the non-athletic open fields reseeded,” she said, noting that the hope is that the fields will be ready by late summer. Gymnasiums in the new buildings have been opened up for sports teams’ use.
Currently, Mead said the project is coming in under budget.
“We’re on track for time and under budget with the knowledge that there are still some punch list items. But the big ticket items are accomplished,” she said.
Officials are welcoming light at the end of the tunnel on the middle-high school project, which was at one point in turmoil. The town terminated its initial contract with TLT Construction in 2013 after a number of deadlines were not met and there were claims that subcontractors were not being paid.
Brait Builders was hired last year to pick up where the former contractors left off.
“Certainly Brait Builders has turned it around. They’ve done everything we asked them to do, completing the high school on time for the April 1 was the deadline that we self imposed,” said Smith. “I’m very proud of the general contractor, but I’m more proud of the town department heads and staff that helped them get this done. Fire chief Matt Belsito and John Couture, the building inspector, have gone above and beyond to make sure we got to this point.”
Selectmen and School Committee members will tour the new building in April. In late summer, a public tour will be offered during a ribbon cutting ceremony.