Published in the August 7, 2015 edition

MELROSE — The city has begun an important phase of the construction of the new Learning Commons at Melrose High School.

On Monday, August 3, contractors started work on asbestos abatement and demolition of obsolete fixtures and building materials in the two story space to make way for construction of the new Learning Commons and the refurbished classroom spaces. Asbestos abatement will take approximately three weeks and will be completed before teachers begin returning to the school during the week of August 24.

“This is a very exciting phase of work for us and for the project,” said Superintendent of Schools Cyndy Taymore. “Completing the abatement work while school is out of session is my firm policy and in doing so this summer we will have the added benefit of enabling construction to begin this fall to ensure adequate time for project completion before the start of the 2016/2017 school year.”

The school department vacated the space with assistance from the Public Works Department in early July to allow for this accelerated schedule. The classrooms and library programming that are displaced during construction will occur in temporary spaces in the high school and middle school campus with minimal disruption to students.

The city, through the Office of Planning and Community Development, awarded a contract for the abatement and demolition work to Air Quality Experts (AQE) this past July.

“Asbestos abatement work is highly regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection and work occurs in sealed conditions with negative air pressure to ensure that there are no risks to the public or to workers in the building” said City Planner Denise Gaffey. “Air quality tests will confirm that the space is ready for occupancy before the work is complete and the space turned back over to the School Department.”

When completed in August 2016, the former Resource Center will be transformed into a 21st century Learning Commons with new computer, graphic and CAD labs, business classrooms, presentation spaces, small group spaces and an upgraded TV studio. The project also creates a new centralized space for student services, including guidance and department heads, which will move to the first floor opposite the Principal’s office.

“This project is the latest of a number of investments and upgrades we have made to Melrose High School over the last decade to improve student learning and achievement,” said Mayor Robert Dolan. “With the support of the Board of Aldermen and the community at large, we have positioned Melrose High School for excellence now and well into the future.”