New elementary school takes shape
The new elementary school on Minot Avenue is suddenly much easier to imagine, as the majority of the foundation has been poured and steel beams draw the outline of the school’s two wings against the sky.
The foundations and steel frame of the two academic wings of the school have been completed, and the foundation for the center of the school, which will house administrative offices, the cafeteria, gym, and innovation center, will be poured in the next week or so.
The steel framing will be complete by early July, at which point contractors will get to work on plumbing and electrical work.
The school, which will serve students in pre-K through the fourth grade, is set on more than 20 acres of land, and will have 350 parking spaces -- a project on a scale that is shockingly large in comparison to the old Minot Forest School.
Additionally, the school will be surrounded by outdoor play areas including two soccer fields and two kickball courts.
Rhonda Veugen of the New School Building Committee said that the school will also be a space for the community to use for events and programs. The common spaces of the building, including the auditorium and various meeting rooms, can be sealed off from the classroom areas for use in the off-school hours (and the whole building is air-conditioned).
Construction work has been allowed to continue throughout the pandemic, and most of the necessary work has allowed workers to stay distant from each other and outside -- ideal pandemic working conditions.
As the school is closed in, workers will take extra precautions, including wearing masks and glasses.
The school’s ventilation system is designed in such a way that each individual room vents directly outside, rather than into a shared system that moves air throughout the whole building. While the ventilation was planned far before the pandemic, the design is one now being considered for many school projects still in the planning stages.
The school is several weeks ahead of schedule, and well under budget. Bids came in at $12 million below estimate, and the interest rates on loans are at rock bottom, which will lead to further savings for taxpayers.
Due to the pandemic, officials weren’t able to hold a groundbreaking ceremony. Instead, there will be a topping-off ceremony held in the next few weeks as the last steel beam is added to the school’s structure. Although attendance to the event will be limited, it will be live-streamed online, and everyone in town can get involved by signing large vinyl stickers that will be wrapped around the beam before it is added to the structure.
“We want the community to make their mark,” said Veugen.
Vinyl banners that will be attached to the beam before it is installed will be available to be signed at several locations and dates:
Minot Forest/Middle School: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 11 and 12
Multi Service Center: 5 to 7 p.m. on June 11 and 12
Decas Elementary: 9 to 11 a.m. on June 15 and 16
The new school is set to be substantially complete in October 2021, and students will start learning there in January 2022 after winter break.
For more information about the building, including a fly-over video and a live camera showing construction updates, go to www.warehamelementaryschool.org.