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School board hears progress report on Kingswood complex

THE KINGSWOOD CONSTRUCTION SITE from the air (photo provided by North Branch Construction). On the left can be seen “sitework for additions and major underground utility reconstruction (bringing the geothermal system to all three schools) underway at Vocational, Middle and High Schools.” The white roof of the new Kingswood Arts Center is shown in the center of the photo as is the new synthetic playing field and the site of geothermal wells located behind the Arts Center. (Courtesy photo) (click for larger version)
September 02, 2010
WOLFEBORO — After a two-month summer break, the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board met Aug. 16 in order to regroup before the official start of school and to review the progress of the Kingswood complex building project.

Even though the main board did not meet for two months, the Building and Maintenance Committee held two meetings each week throughout the summer – one for each of the phases. Committee Chair Ernie Brown and Superintendent Jack Robertson gave a brief overview of the work currently going on at the site.

Phase I work, which began in November 2009, includes the construction of a new 51,000 square foot arts center, featuring a 900 seat auditorium, classrooms and locker rooms, new synthetic and natural turf athletic fields, and the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system believed to be the largest in the state.

Work on Phase II includes 90,000 square feet of additions on the vocational, middle and high schools, the re-roofing and renovation of all three schools. including a "total gut renovation" and asbestos abatement in the high school, and the replacement of both the middle and high school's exterior facades (all anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2012). As Phase I nears completion, Phase II takes precedence.

According to a North Branch Construction representative, since the school closed last June, "160 to 180 construction workers [have been] on site daily working on a fast-track schedule to complete phases of the project required before the students return."

The construction company's summer schedule, which included major underground site utility reconstruction linking the geothermal system throughout the campus, and the completion of the new football fields with stadium seating for 1,000 and other playing fields, will now shift in priority to include the completion of the new Performing Arts Building (which is expected to be substantially complete by Dec. 1), as well as the start of the expansion work on the east sides of both the high school and middle school.

"Workers will soon be erecting the steel for the addition to the existing high school," reported Robertson at the Aug. 16 meeting.

Regarding the playing fields, which by now have all been turned over to Athletic Director Andrea Ogden, there is a new 180 by 300-foot soccer field located behind Crescent Lake School and the first football game of the season is scheduled to be held this Friday, Sept. 3 on the new synthetic turf field.

Subsequent to the school board meeting Project Clerk of the Works Tom Boudette and District Maintenance Supervisor Dick Falardeau expanded on the report of the project's progress and what students, staff and parents alike can expect in the upcoming weeks.

In a brief interview with the two on Aug. 24 Boudette and Falardeau shared their opinions on what has become an ever-evolving, dynamic process.

"It's a shakedown cruise with a tremendous amount of forethought and effort by everyone," said Boudette, who utilizes his experience and knowledge from having previously been clerk of the works for several large construction projects in the state.

"This is a business of loose ends. When you start thinking about the most paramount thing here, which is safety, and the loose ends and the evolution, there's a dynamic to it and we're tweaking every minute."

Though Boudette credits North Branch Construction for helping the district get through the everyday challenges inherent of a project of this magnitude, he himself has a to be on his toes all the time as the coordinator behind multiple large-scale efforts. As the most knowledgeable person about the project, according to Robertson, the district relies on him to make sure work is being done properly and according to the plans and so far both Phases I and II are on schedule and on budget.

Since breaking ground last November Boudette says the project has been moving well.

"It's been a delight to work with North Branch. They have our every best effort in place. It's well managed, well manned. The architect [CMK Architects] and the design team is a big, big element to this as well, and they've been exceptional… It's been Aces and A's."

While school has now begun and staff and students have resumed their roles as teacher and scholar, construction workers will continue to work on site from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (they also work on Saturdays) without exception. Boudette doe not anticipate however that the work will have much effect on the activity or function of the school. With blasting completed, the drone of construction equipment and back-up beeping of industrial vehicles should be the worst of the interruptions to those inside the buildings.

For now the interiors of the three schools are intact and fully operational. The interior renovations will not begin until next June, at which point school will again be out for the summer and the Performing Arts Building will be functional.

That's not to say however that classrooms won't be in constant flux as work progresses, explained Boudette. As the high school and middle school additions are brought on line and become functional – hopefully by April 2011 – they will be used for classes in order to clear room in the existing buildings.

While many residents will be happy to see the exterior green Kalwall come down off the high school in the near future, many will be happy to know that the schools will be taking on green in another aspect by meeting the state's standards for green initiatives.

North Branch stated that both Phases I and II, a combined three-year project due for completion by December of 2012, are "being built to meet the energy efficiency and environmental standards of the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NECHPS State Funding for School Construction)."

"We're taking the NECHPS certification very seriously," added Boudette. The geothermal system, rain water collection system, large windows and lights, increased air exchange and polished concrete floors which don't require waxing or sealing are just a few specific ways the district will meet the criteria.

"As we put the finishes on the building, the elements are incorporated into the construction," he said, adding that the committee meets regularly to see where they are at with meeting all criteria.

The district could save an additional three percent of costs (approximately $2 million dollars) if all of the required initiatives are met.

"[Falardeau] has a program, "School Dude," which will be monitoring all the systems that will be coming on line here and maintaining protocols to schedule preventative and regular maintenance," explained Boudette. "His efforts, once we assume these buildings, to continue the NECHPS initiatives will be huge. He's going to carry the ball with this."

Both Falardeau and Boudette wanted to recognize some folks for their patience and understanding throughout this ongoing process. Both men agreed that the school custodial staff, who have learned to work around the construction, maintain the building despite the chaos and have been extremely patient about it all, deserve much appreciation and gratitude.

"The custodial staff in the buildings have been working as hard as the people doing the construction," commented Falardeau, who says the Governor Wentworth Regional School District has the "best custodial staff in the state."

"They keep up, do their jobs, and keep their cool."

"I would have to concur," replied Boudette adding the principals, teachers and staff into the mix of those who deserve a special thanks for all their patience.

Also deserving of kudos, said Boudette, are the "gang at Crescent Lake and the residents down [McManus Road] who have to drive through the site multiple times each day and "our good neighbors at Brewster Heights who have been very, very cooperative."

Other business

At the Aug. 16 meeting the board voted to endorse the recommendation to include a Dental Assistant Program in the Vocational Center's Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) program. The idea was brought to the Academic Affairs Committee by Vocational Center Principal Steve Guyer at an earlier June 17 meeting, during which time it was noted that the program could help increase the number of technicians who stay and work in the area. Board member and dentist Dr. James Manning concurred that having a dental assistant program would help offset the current shortage of technicians obtaining training and remaining in the area.

Academic Affairs Chair Stacy Trites also mentioned that the committee is currently working with High School Principal Guy Donnelly and Dept. Head Counselor Lara Crane on their proposal for increasing the requirements for the student Scholar Program.

After reviewing copies of both the current and proposed requirements the board voted to accept the changes to the Scholar Program as presented.

The district has taken on several new hires over the summer. New teachers hired by board poll over the summer break include: Peter DeMinico, 40 percent teacher at Tuftonboro Central School; Brittany Little, 50 percent teacher at Tuftonboro Central School; J. Gale LeClair, 50 percent counselor at Crescent Lake School; Terri Drew, full-time reading specialist at Effingham Elementary School; Charles Hossack. Fulltime special education teacher at the middle school; and Carissa Dube, 50 percent grade five teacher at Tuftonboro Central School.

Including those hired before the end of the last school year, the district has 11 new staff members.

The school board will meet again on Monday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Region 9 Voc-Tech Center.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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