Westport school building committee wrapping up inside, outside design of new building – special – southcoasttoday.com – new bedford, ma 5 gases in the atmosphere


WESTPORT — Through a continuing series of design workshops, members of the Westport School Building Committee are working hard with architects, school staffers and district administrators to wrap up the interior design specifications for the new co-located junior and senior high school being planned for Old County Road.

Voters approved a $96.8 million debt exclusion question for the new 185,610-square-foot school in a February special election, after the Massachusetts School Building Authority committed just over $39 million in reimbursements for the new facility.

Now, the building committee has to work out all the details of the schematic design prepared for the two-story, H-shaped structure to be built, and produce complete sets of construction drawings for final approval by the building committee on June 6.

That design subcommittee work includes finalizing everything from interior and exterior materials for the building construction to the colors and finish details for each room in the new building. Most of the learning spaces are being designed with specific uses in mind, ranging from math classrooms to science labs.

Owner’s project manager Dan Tavares told the building committee at its May 9 meeting that the final design package has to be ready for submission to the MSBA by July 13. The committee’s timetable calls for the project to go out to bid about a year from now, Tavares indicated. According to the project schedule, construction should start in the spring or summer of 2019, and take two years to complete.

The town’s project manager, Daedalus Projects Inc., recently added an assistant project manager and a second associate to their consulting team for the Westport project. One of the company’s representatives should be on site every day to help oversee the construction effort.

Meanwhile, school officials and the building committee have also been working behind the scenes to handle the complex financial matters that come with such a large-scale project. The town has signed the $39 million-plus project funding agreement with the MSBA, and can now start seeking state reimbursements for its expenditures.

Tavares said bid requests for $9 million in short-term borrowing for the project were to be published May 10 so that the town will have sufficient funds to start site work and begin the demolition work on the old Westport Middle School this fall.

The closed middle school must be cleared of hazardous materials and then demolished before the site is prepared for the new construction. The project budget includes just over $6 million for the removal of asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous materials from the school and grounds, with the abatement work set to start in mid-August and demolition to start in early September.

The continued testing of soils onsite has led to the first glitch in the construction process, Tavares reported. The contractor conducting geo-tech drilling on the middle school campus hit an underground electric line feeding the nearby library and tennis courts, knocking out the power to both facilities, he said.

Site plans are also getting their final tweaks as well. Architect Jonathan Levi said the project landscape architect will work with the civil engineering team to lay out the irrigated athletic fields, design interior courtyards and relocate the existing tennis courts on site.