, Newburyport, MA

August 28, 2013

Nock-Molin, Bresnahan projects moving along

By Greg Phipps

---- — NEWBURYPORT — The city’s two major school-building projects appear to be progressing in a timely manner.

The School Committee received a detailed update Monday on the current status of both the Nock-Molin Middle School renovation and the construction of the new K-3 Bresnahan School.

Both projects broke ground this spring.

According to School Facilities director Steve Bergholm, the Nock-Molin building, despite ongoing reconstruction, will be “functional and safe” when classes commence today.

“Its been a little hectic lately (for the renovation crew). The teachers have also been working in the building to get their classrooms ready,” he said. “But we’re nearing completion on phase one of the project. The first phase should be completed in the next two weeks, and then we can move on to the second phase.”

Phase one of the renovation includes work on the cafeteria, the main office area, corridors, several classrooms, the auditorium and science labs.

Superintendent Susan Viccaro later said she will do a walk-through with school principals today and tomorrow to make sure everything is in place and ready for use, as well as to ensure the safety of the building.

Project Manager Tony Prunier informed the committee of a revised budget of $26 million for the Nock-Molin project, a savings of $989,000 from the original figure of $27 million. He said part of that savings will go to change-order repairs totaling $507,000 for new auditorium seats, air conditioning to additional classrooms and special education classroom upgrades.

Bergholm said work on the new 112,000-square-foot Bresnahan School, set for completion in September of 2014, is “moving along fairly well,” adding that significant progress has been made on both the exterior and interior frame and that brick work should begin in the near future. He also said the second and third floors “are beginning to take shape” and that preparations are being made to install electricity and plumbing.

Bergholm acknowledged that the Bresnahan construction was impacting surrounding neighbors (the committee raised the issue of groundwater complaints from area residents) but that “we’re working with those people to troubleshoot and get these things worked out.”

According to Prunier, the construction’s total cost has been reduced from its original sum of $38.8 million to a current figure of $35.6 million. A $555,000 portion of the subsequent $3 million savings will be used for change-order flooring and tile work.

“We’re about four or five months into both projects,” said Prunier, when asked about staying on schedule. “So far, we haven’t run into any unanticipated obstacles. We still have a year to go to completion (of the Bresnahan construction), but right now we’re basically on budget and on schedule.”

The overall cost of Nock-Molin project includes a 54 percent state reimbursement from the Massachusetts State Building Authority. Likewise, the total price of the Bresnahan construction brings with it a 53 percent reimbursement from the state.