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Kingswood renovation nearing two-thirds completion

17 of 26 affected areas expected to be done by first of year

NORTH BRANCH Vice President Bruce Blazon, an onsite supervisor at the Kingswood Complex and Julianne Cardinal, Civil Engineer and Project Supervisor, stand in the newly renovated Kingswood Regional High School gymnasium on its first day of use, Nov. 21. Girls’ basketball tryouts were under way. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
December 01, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Girls' basketball tryouts were under way on Monday, Nov. 21, in the newly-renovated gymnasium at Kingswood Regional High School. The floors gleamed and North Branch project managers, Vice President Bruce Blazon and Civil Engineer Julianne Cardinal, were beaming.

Cardinal, who oversaw construction of Phase One, which included the Kingswood Arts Center, left the site when that job was done, but happily returned for the present phase. For her, the work is personal. She is a New Durham resident and her four children attend Governor Wentworth Regional School District schools. No long commute these days.

The two were pleased to see the students enjoying the gymnasium, which looks quite a bit different now. The bleachers now line one side of the room only. Teams sit side by side on the other side of the room, away from parents eager to give advice.

A week later, renovation of the Kingswood Regional High School cafeteria was complete, and for the first time this year, students were eating lunch in the shiny, new quarters. That means that the practice gym, which has served as the temporary cafeteria until now, will be freed up for contractors to get to work.

By Jan. 1, said Blazon, work on the practice gym, the Vocational auto body building, the consumer sciences section of the high school, and the first floor classrooms of the Middle School are expected to be finished, thus completing 17 of the 26 areas of the massive renovation project.

From 100 to 150 construction workers are on site on any given day, working around 1,600 students and 350 staff and faculty members, says Blazon. Those numbers are down from the nearly 300 workers on the extensive project site in the summer.

The work completed at that rate over the three-month period when school was out of session, cost about $11.5 million, about $100,000 worth a day, said Blazon, and there were no injuries he said proudly. "We didn't give any business to Huggins Hospital."

Bill the hot dog vendor had a booming trade up there, though, for "construction workers don't usually bring their lunch," smiled Cardinal. These days, the Region # 9 Vocational Center offers pizza out their back door a few afternoons a week and it's good.

Most likely, Dunkin Donuts and its trademark coffee and donuts is a major beneficiary of the stream of tradesmen coming and going throughout the day as well as the lunch and sandwich shops downtown.

Blazon, who lives close to Concord, said he's becoming well-acquainted with Wolfeboro, where he's housed some of his specialty crews, sometimes for as long as five months. The Wolfeboro Inn, the Lake Motel and the River View Motel in Alton come quickly to mind.

There's a long stretch of work ahead but about two-thirds of the designated project areas are finished and opened for use.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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