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Officials: Danvers High School construction right on track

Posted by Ryan Mooney  August 1, 2012 01:21 PM

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The Danvers High School renovation project is about to enter the second phase of work, and DPW Director David Lane was happy to report to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday that work remains on schedule and under budget.

Construction is expected to be completely finished in September of 2013, but the new academic, science and art wings will be ready to welcome students this fall.

The only sizable problem officials face is what to do about the bleachers in the Field House. The new bleachers are too heavy, causing depressions in the new floor. According to Lane, a number of preemptory steps were put in place to avoid this problem, but there was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the way.

Now officials face two choices: get different bleachers, or replace the flooring again.

"Different bleachers is the first choice," Lane said. "We've had a bleacher company - looked at their design of bleachers - for what could work on our floor. We've sent that out to a private testing company to make sure that they're going to work on that floor. We'll get those test results...we'll monitor that."

But despite this hurdle, Bacon Construction reports that Phase 1 of the project is nearly complete - all that remains is to install some cabinetry, resurface some stairs, and finish cleaning up the classrooms.

New linoleum floors and new lockers have been installed in the halls, and the main lot and new west lot are paved. The classrooms, including six new science labs, are furnished and will be ready for the start of the 2012-13 school year.

"The push is on to get us all set for the start of school here in September...so we're excited," Lane said. "The contractor is out there pushing hard...we're really pleased with how fast they're going."

The next big step is demolition of the three-story Dunn Wing. Asbestos abatement in the Dunn Wing connector has been completed, and abatement in the Dunn Wing should take about three weeks, according to Lane. The contractor has assured Lane that the wing will be demolished and off-site by the start of school in the fall.

New offices for the principal, superintendent and other associated rooms in the new front wing, as well as a permanent cafeteria - the Vye Gym has been transformed into a temporary one - are the final pieces to the puzzle.

As of July 10, 69 percent of the $71 million budget had been used. The Massachusetts School Building Association has reimbursed the town $23.3 million.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com.

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