LITTLE COMPTON — The race is on, against the clock and winter weather, to prepare the Peckham Lot site and install two 70-foot modular classroom buildings for 275 Wilbur & McMahon students during the year (or more) school building renovation project.
There’s a Jan. 30 deadline for starting work under the existing construction contract, past which contract costs could increase and the contract would need to be rebid.
Then there’s the move of the students, which will not happen before mid-January.
“We’d hoped to have the renovation project start at the beginning of the year, but that’s not going to happen,” said Tom Allder, chairman of the school building committee and newly-elected member of the school committee.
“ADS [ADS Construction, Inc., the renovation project contractor] has agreed to hold the contract price until Jan. 30,” Mr. Allder said. “If we cross the Jan. 30 threshold, we’re obligated to let ADS reprice the contract.”
There’s ample evidence of construction progress on-site. “The footprint for the modulars has been graded and staked,”Mr. Allder said, and the loam topsoil that was removed sits in a tall pile in the southwest corner of the Peckham Lot.
When the modulars are removed, hopefully sometime in the spring of 2014, the loam will be spread back over the field.
“The water and septic, we’ve got that knocked in the head. Now we have to bring some stone in,” Mr. Allder said last weekend, speaking about the firming-up of the platforms on which the modulars will stand.
A septic tank has been installed underground near the tennis courts, he said, and a water line has been run from the well near the school to the location where the modulars will be situated.
The modulars themselves are scheduled to start arriving on Monday, Dec.10, said Steve Mogil, project manager for ModSpace [Modular Space Corporation], which holds the $650,000 contract for the temporary classroom structures.
Then comes the installation and hook-up. “Things look pretty good for having them in by mid-January,” Mr. Mogil said.
Moving the students
Mr. Allder said school officials are projecting four to five weeks from the time the modulars arrive to the time for actually moving the students in.
Before the move can be made, he said, there will have to be an occupancy permit. “It’s got to be a safe environment.”
It’s a tight timeline considering that the move from the old building to the modulars entails shifting the students, their classroom furniture and other educational paraphernalia.
Already the holiday break will have been missed. “For us, having to move over the Christmas recess won’t be reality,” said Mr. Allder. “We expect to be moving the kids in the second or third week of January, right around there.”
How many days it will take to accomplish the move is not known. “It could be we’ll miss a few days of school,” said Mr. Allder. “It’s not something you’ll necessarily be able to do over the weekend.”
Mr. Allder said the move of classroom equipment late last summer, from the old school to the transportation building, took place over a two-day period and was performed professionally. The move ultimately had to be rescinded, and everything moved back when site work problems for the modulars surfaced and the renovation project start date had to be postponed.
“The move is going to be a choreographed ballet in terms of getting things done,” Mr. Allder said. “It’s going to be organized chaos.”
The school administrators, he said, “are the architects for making the transition. The goal is to allow the parents some opportunity to see the buildings first.”
School Superintendent Kathy Crowley, he said, “has a transition team she’s spearheading that’s working on it.”