New High School: What is Next for the Project?
Residents will soon see action on Church Street as initial construction starts in upcoming months.
Voters approved plans for a new high school. The Conservation Commission did as well. So just what is next for the project planned for 159 Church Street?
Barring any further appeals, work at the site will begin over the next few months while students are out of school for the summer.
“Hopefully residents will see some activity on the grounds soon, provided there are no further delays because of any potential appeals,” said Town Manager Michael Caira. “In addition there’s a lot of work that is being done now in terms of getting ready for construction, the technical stuff and refinement of design development.”
As has been the plan all along, the gym demolition and artificial turf installation are the first steps involved in building the school. That’s where residents will soon see work begin.
Graduation is slated for Sunday, June 3, inside Alumni Stadium. That will likely be the final event on the current natural grass at the school. Shortly after graduation, initial efforts will begin for the turf work.
Ideally, the field will be ready for use in mid- to late-September, according to Caira, who admitted that he is looking at that time frame optimistically. He added that the turf will more realistically be ready for regular use at the beginning of October.
The second phase of the project is slated for just after the town’s annual 4th of July celebration when the gymnasium is demolished. The demolition is expected to be completed by the middle of August.
Those two aspects of the high school project are somewhat intertwined. Because there will be no gymnasium to teach physical education classes in, Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton said the classes will be taught outside on the turf when it’s warm enough later in the year. During the winter months, students will take health classes instead of physical education.
“We have also developed an alternative curriculum such as yoga which can be taught in the high school,” said Benton.
Fall teams that normally play at Alumni Stadium will be able to play at other fields in town with the exception of the varsity football team. Benton said Athletics Director Ed Harrison has developed plans to accommodate the field not being ready until October.
There will be an official groundbreaking ceremony on the school grounds in the upcoming months, though Benton said it will not come until the beginning of the new school year so students and representatives from the Massachusetts School Building Authority can be present.