Published in the July 2, 2015 edition

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS install lockers in the new middle school. (Geof Simons Photo)

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS install lockers in the new middle school. (Geof Simons Photo)


NORTH READING – The Secondary Schools Building Committee received another assurance that the middle school construction project is on schedule and the building will open on time Sept. 9.

In fact, there’s already a dedication ceremony planned for Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. And two dedication plaques (one in each school), have been approved, and will be installed in time for the ceremony.

At their last meeting, Jim Driscoll, construction manager Gilbane, the main contractor on the job, assured the SSBC the project is on schedule and Kevin Nigro from PMA the owner’s project manager, concurred.

Nigro said, “I’ve received three schedule updates from Gilbane and they all show them finishing on time. I walk the building frequently and I’m pleased with the progress, especially in the last two weeks. We believe the schedule is accurate and achievable.”

Driscoll reported that flooring is currently being installed in Building F, the middle school classrooms and central office location, along with ceiling tiles and floor tiles in the main entrance together with case work in the science areas and the main entrance concrete sidewalks.

Permanent power is coming to the team room building down by the football field in the next few days and they are grading the French drains in front of the team room building.

Alison Carlson, 15 Hill St., an abutter of the project, has submitted three separate estimates ranging from $10,000 to $14,230 for screening and buffering she would like to see installed on her property.

Mrs. Carlson asked about the status of her request and SSBC Chairman Chuck Carucci said it hasn’t been considered yet, but he stated flatly there would be no trees installed by the SSBC.

Mrs. Carlson also asked about the status of asbestos removal from the site, which must precede the actual demolition of the old high school.

PMA’s Kevin Nigro responded the mitigation could take three to five weeks depending on the difficulty involved and will be performed by a licensed subcontractor.

The school will be encapsulated first and the subcontractor’s work is highly regulated, and will be inspected by a third-party, Nigro stated.

Nigro added that they don’t expect any problems. Asbestos abatement is a big part of the job they do at every school, he stated. The type of asbestos they’ll be looking for is typical, he added: floor tile, pipe insulation, boiler insulation.

Nigro thinks the asbestos work will start in the boiler room and gym area, but once the subcontractor starts the job,  he’s free to re–sequence as he sees fit. It’s called “means and methods,” he explained.

“The process is highly regulated by the state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and we don’t anticipate any problems,” Nigro said.

Carucci commented a lot of the old high school’s asbestos was abated when it was renovated in 1989 and the middle school went through a similar abatement procedure a year ago without any problems.

Invoice approval

The SSBC approved the following invoices for May:

• Gilbane Construction, $1,399,045

• PMA, the owner’s project manager, $$48,186

• UTS, the owner’s testing agent, $1,285

• Eagle Leasing, $814 (for storage trailers for miscellaneous tools and equipment).

Everything’s coming up clover

SSBC member Steve Nathan said he was generally satisfied with progress made on landscape plantings, having walked the site with the project’s landscaper recently. Nathan said he questioned some of the choices and heights of the planted trees but the explanations offered by the landscaper were satisfactory. Nathan said he was satisfied with the efforts to water the trees, but that seems to be satisfactory, also. The grass seems to be less thick than it needs to be and another seeding may be necessary, he said.

Nathan said he is disappointed with the plantings on the berm, although the plans are to cut it back and reseed with a wildflower mix in August. Nathan said he observed one species of flower out there and everything else is weed and the rear berm is mostly covered with clover.