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Hingham School officials begin permitting process for $60.9 million middle school

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 24, 2012 03:18 PM

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Hingham school officials have started the permitting process for the new $60.9 million middle school, a 176,385-square-foot building which will be built next to the existing school.

Last night, school officials met with the Planning Board, the Board of Health, and the Conservation Commission to give a presentation on the middle school and recap the plans as they exist thus far.

"It was more really our opportunity and our experts opportunity to present a fuller view of the project, focusing on the things that will come within their purview in the permitting process," said Ray Estes, chairman of the Building Committee and member of the School Committee.

None of the board members asked any questions during the meeting; however, it will be a jumping off point for each of the boards in their separate meetings in upcoming weeks.

"Last night was more for informational purposes and to give the boards a chance to hear a full presentation together. It was also an opportunity for folks at home to see it, too, so folks could see things and follow it at home if they hadn't been privy to the deigns or seen any design documents since August," Estes said.

After the meeting, School Building engineers met with the Conservation Commission to cover particular aspects of the project.

According to Estes, the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission will meet separately on Feb. 6 with engineers to iron out the details of the project and solve any problems.

The Board of Health's review will commence in earnest once the Conservation Commission issues an Order of Conditions on the project.

With 60 percent of the design being developed at this stage, Estes doesn't anticipate any significant alterations to the design that the public has seen thus far. "Construction documents are still being developed, and they will be developed in line with the comments we will be receiving from various boards. To the extent they might be different than currently anticipated, we will adjust accordingly," Estes said.

With the experience of numerous professionals on their side, Hingham school officials said they don't expect any major issues.

"We have hired professionals who have done this many times before, and who know what they are doing, and who are anticipating the comments coming from the board and know the laws required. I don't anticipate wholesale changes, just little tweaks and responses to little comments and concerns," he said.

At this stage, the potential timeline of going out to bid in April and begin digging in June is still on track. The speed with which permitting began is a good sign, but the complexity of the project means that much is still up in the air.

"It's a complex project, it's a huge project, there are a lot of moving parts and things to be concerned about from the board's point of view," Estes said. "But like I said before, it's an aggressive, optimistic schedule, but it's a realistic schedule."

The meeting was broadcast live on Hingham Public Access last night and will be rebroadcast on Channel 30 for Verizon customers and Channel 10 for Comcast users. For more information on broadcast times, call (781) 804-2427.

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