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Debris and equipment on the southeast corner. The windows have been removed and the openings covered with plastic.
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The roof of the gym was taken off last week.

Major Demolition Nearly Complete for North Adams School Project

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Scaffolding covers the north end of what will be the Colegrove Park Elementary School. A blog with photos of the progress being kept up by Jones Whitsett Architects can be found here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Conte School gymnasium will come down this week as demolition continues on the renovation of the former middle school.

Crews have removed most of the windows, dug up the ground floor for piping and are nearly finished with asbestos abatement. The steel roof of the gym was removed last week and the old oil tank taken out.

So far, few surprises have popped up during demolition, a concern for the School Building Committee overseeing the $30 million project to turn the century-old building into Colegrove Park Elementary School.

"Are we far enough along that we know we're not going to get any surprises?" asked Mayor Richard Alcombright during an update on the project Monday night. "At what point will we know?"

A number of change orders had come in early on as the contractors got into the site, but those have slowed down, said Daniel Daisy of Strategic Building Solutions, the owner's project manager.

"We have not really encountered a deal-breaker," he said, adding that the project is "now fully tapped into the street."

The contractors have requested an extra three days on the timeline, however, because of the changes.

"The bottom line is we are in good shape as far as we have not impacted any critical items," Daisy said."The masonry and the demolition have been a little slow just because of the logistics of the site."

Dorrie Brooks of Jones Whitsett Architects said the project is at the 14 to 16 percent mark and there was some concern about the roof and the condition of the so-called "Drury wall," an element of the original building being exposed by gym demolition.

"We are finding boulders — what hit us early on were utility issues because no one knew where they were," she said. "There are still going be some things we have to adjust."

The contractors are spending a lot of time looking at the drawings and asking questions, said Brooks, but nothing has been translated into change orders ... yet.

The decision had been made for off-white, or putty, window frames with brown mullions and dark shades. It was expected to go well with the much brighter exterior that's being exposed as the building's yellow brick is scrubbed.

The repointing and masonry repair is also under way.

Brooks said they were closing watching the budgeting and scope of work.

"We're being really tight ... but I want to make sure we're not slowing the project down," she said. "I think we've been lucky that they haven't asked for any time delays other than the three days, which is pretty minimal."

The next meeting of the committee will be Aug. 18.

Tags: Colegrove Park,   Conte School,   demolition,   school building,   school building committee,   

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