Construction crews at Sandwich High School have been working throughout the summer to ensure that key projects—including repairs to the swimming pool and conversion of the “A” wing into the STEM Academy—are finished in time for the beginning of the fast-approaching school year.
Both director of facilities Alan Hall and superintendent C. Richard Canfield say they are confident that most, if not all, of the work will be completed in time.
Another one of the major projects on the building is the replacement of 132 concrete windowsills that were found to be installed incorrectly, after one of them broke free, fell two stories, and crashed to the ground back in October 2012. The project is slated to cost $189,000 for the construction and $50,000 for the design. The work is being done by Thompson Waterproofing, which is based out of Boston.
“The repairs are scheduled to be finished by August 22,” Mr. Hall said. “So far, so good. We’re right on time.”
Repairing the window sills has been a priority for Dr. Canfield, primarily because of the safety concerns that go along with having loose masonry sills.
According to Mr. Hall, the repairs have included installing the new sills, using new caulking and sealing, and replacing expansion joints.
“We discovered that the expansion joint on one side of the building was too tight and that some of the material was bulging,” Dr. Canfield said. “That’s part of what was causing the windows to loosen up.”
Getting the swimming pool up and running is also one of the big projects underway at Sandwich High.
The district was forced to close the pool in early 2013 due to a massive water leak. The original estimate for total repairs to the facility was $980,000 and to date $780,000 has been spent on equipment and repairs.
Replacing the heating, cooling and ventilation system in the pool area was the bulk of the cost at $713,000 and was done by CAM HVAC out of Smithfield, Rhode Island. The old HVAC system was on the same meter as the rest of the school, but the new unit has its own meter.
“In the past there were concerns about determining the cost of running the pool,” Dr. Canfield said. “This will tell us the actual utility cost for the pool only.”
The new system is also able to be managed remotely and could allow the district to lower the cost of running the pool.
“The controls will be more energy-efficient,” Mr. Hall said. “We’ll be able to better control the energy use during unoccupied time or during snow days.”
As part of the HVAC work, old duct work has been demolished and removed, a new coat of paint was put on the walls, and a new gas line was installed as was a new exhaust vent.
To address the leak, Russo Barr Associates out of Burlington was hired to design the grout fix at a cost of $9,500. The construction aspect of completing the grouting and tiling of the pool is currently out to bid, and the estimated cost for that is $50,000.
While everything is running pretty close to the schedule that has been laid out, the pool is not expected to be open on the first day of school.
“The pool won’t be ready on September 2,” Mr. Hall said.
However, both he and Dr. Canfield are optimistic that the pool will be open for physical education and the robotics courses not long after the school opens.
Another big factor for them is for the competitive swim and dive team to have its own facility. Last year the team had to rent space from Duxbury and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Dr. Canfield said that the cost of doing that was significant.
The district is also currently trying to determine how it will go about opening up the pool for public use. Once it does open, there will likely be a fee program in place that will compete with the YMCA.
“As we open it up to the community we need to come up with a fee structure to support community use,” Dr. Canfield said. “We have ideas, we’re open to ideas, but it’s a work in progress.”
The fees will be used to help pay for the energy costs of running the pool during non-school hours as well as for staffing the pool during those times. There is no projected date set for when the pool will be open for community use.
Work is also ongoing at the Captain Gerald F. DeConto Veterans Memorial Stadium. The field is currently being prepared to accommodate a new drainage system and conduits for electrical lines and the public address system and will then have the new artificial turf playing surface installed.
Additionally, there will be a new set of bleachers designed to seat 1,200 people, a press box, and handicapped access to the stadium.
“When this is completed, the community should be proud of having the only outdoor, 1,200-seat, lighted venue,” Dr. Canfield said. “We just need community understanding and support to keep it healthy and maintained.”
“We’re anticipating that the stadium will be ready this fall,” Mr. Hall said. “We’re shooting for October 17, which is Homecoming.”
They are also working on plans with the DeConto family to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the stadium is open. “We have some fun ideas,” Dr. Canfield said.
Work to turn the school’s “A” wing in the new STEM Academy is also going well, according to Mr. Hall.
Plumbing work was required to accommodate six of the wing’s classrooms, including four science rooms and two new art rooms.
The cost of preparing those rooms was $150,000 and the cost of the plumbing alone was $55,000. The plumbing is being completed by
Robert W. Irvine & Sons of Lynn and the architectural work is being done by Trapani and Associates of Boston.
The room that once housed the district’s central office is being turned into a nurse’s office to specifically address the health needs of 7th- and 8th-grade STEM Academy students. They have also ordered 120 new lockers that will be installed within the next four weeks.
In order to pare back some of the costs of opening up the academy, some of the furniture being used has been acquired secondhand and is being restored to a condition that is just like new.
“If we bought all new tables, it would cost $12,000 per room,” Mr. Hall said. “I’m holding back a little bit and being reserved financially. By recycling it gives us a little money in reserve.”
Mr. Hall said that, in total, there are 10 different projects at the high school that he and his team have been working on over the summer.
They have upgraded the security system, moved 7th- and 8th-grade materials from the middle schools, and upgraded the baseball field to meet Cape League standards, to name a few.
“While all of this is going on, maintenance is still doing their normal stuff, in addition to this,” Mr. Hall said. “All I can say about this department is ‘outstanding’.”
Correction August 12, 2014, 2:36 PM: Corrected the cost of the bid for the grout fix.