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Architect Vladimir Lyubetsky and other managers showed the School Building Needs Committee around the building on Monday.

Taconic Contruction: 58 Percent Complete; Focused On Enclosing Building

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The construction managers want to have the building fully enclosed by the first week in November to provide warmth for the workers during the winter.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Construction managers expect to complete $4 million worth of construction per month to keep on schedule with the building of the new Taconic High School.
The building is currently 58 percent complete, according to James Moran, a program manager with the city's project managers Skanska.
Through September, a total of $55.4 million of the $120.8 million project had been invoiced, which is 56 percent. The project managers have used only 38.7 percent of the owner's contingency, and 49.1 percent of the construction manager's contingency.
"The quality of the work has been good to very good across all disciplines and craft. The overall progress by every trade has been excellent over the last two months with cooperation and coordination between the construction manager, the subcontractors. The work has progressed significantly," Moran said. 
"There is a long way to go, however, and the pace of construction must continue at an average rate of over $4 million per month in order to meet the completion date. There is no reason at this time to see any reason why this will not happen."
Gilbane Construction is managing the construction. Manager Dave DeForest, of Gilbane, said the workers will be slightly ahead of the next milestone. The building was scheduled to be fully enclosed by Nov. 28 but DeForest expects that to be done in the first week of November. Totally enclosing the building will allow it to be heated and have workers put the finishing touches on the inside during the winter.
DeForest said just short of two dozen heaters were brought in and will be connecting with the permanent utilities running to the site this week. Last winter, the building was wrapped in a plastic and temporary heaters were used for the same purpose.
"We're pushing to get it enclosed," DeForest said. 
The new boiler system is installed, with three main boilers pumping out 4 million BTUs each. That will be used for the 22 heating units placed throughout the building. In the spring, the air conditioning can come on.
The building is supposed to be substantially complete by June 2018 and in July the new furniture will be brought in. DRA architect Vladimir Lyubetsky said the furniture for the spaces has already been determined, after months and months of working with a committee in making those choices.
"We're planning to go out to bid with furniture at the end of this year," Lyubetsky said. 
Inside the building, there is one full classroom already set up. The room was completed earlier this year to allow for the furniture committee to see the mock-up and make determinations. But, DeForest added that it helps on the construction side and showed areas where the work could be improved.
"We had the mock-up classroom so we can see how things come together," DeForest said. 
Slowly, more and more things are being brought into the school. The building is broken into four sections: A, B, C, D with a heightened focus on building them somewhat in order. There is work going on throughout the building, but each section is at a different point. 
The cafeteria is located in section B, and right as one would enter the main entrance.
"We have the cooling hoods so we've populated it with kitchen equipment," DeForest said. 
Hoods have been installed in both the cafeteria and the adjacent restaurant for the culinary arts program. And in each stands commercial refrigerators and walk-in freezers. Those pieces of equipment are pretty much the extent of equipment on site and are covered to avoid damage.
Next to the cafeteria is the auditorium. The outline of where the seating and stage will be was completed months ago. DeForest said right now the focus is on getting the overhead infrastructure completed. The 640-seat auditorium is one of the few spots without a concrete floor. DeForest said that floor will be sloped, so the construction workers are keeping it level and dirt until the overhead work is completed. He expects the excavating to grade to be completed in mid-November and the floor poured in December.
To the north of the auditorium is the gymnasium. That, too, has been somewhat stalled after much work was completed early in the project. 
"We're kind of using it for storage right now," DeForest said.
It is the windows that are getting attention since its one of the few window sections that need to be installed in the next month or so. In the spring, DeForest said the construction of the wood floor will start once that is completed, followed by installation of the bleachers.
The media center is the most notable location when looking at the building from the outside. The front of the school's large windows and sloped roof will brighten up the center. Those windows are the other section DeForest said needs to be completed in the next month.
The cosmology shop has the first couple coats of paint. Many of the classroom spaces on the A and B have been painted. Ceramic tiling has begun, specifically in the girl's locker room. 
Meanwhile, outside, a focus has been placed on getting a head start on the site work.
"We've started sidewalks. We've started pads," DeForest said. 
DeForest said the new main driveway has been paved and the parking lot is next in line. 
The upstairs classrooms in the other C and D sections are coming along. Framing outlines where the rooms will be on the third floor and the material is set to do the same for the second floor. On the bottom floor, to the east, are the shops. Those are formed, have individual HVAC units, and windows are currently being installed next to the large overhead doors. 
When the building is complete, the focus shifts to demolishing the current building. Construction on the new building began in March 2016.

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Pittsfield Firefighters Rescue Apartment Occupants

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters were able to douse a blaze to allow three trapped occupants of an Appleton Avenue apartment to flee to safety. 
The structure fire at 35 Appleton was reported at about 5:11 a.m. on Tuesday. Deputy Chief Daniel Garner said the rear of the 2 1/2-story house was on fire when the the department arrived. 
The structure has four residential units and "fast fire extinguishment enabled the residents of apartment 3 to safely self-evacuate" as fire had spread to their doorway and only means of egress. 
The rest of the building was searched and all occupants were evacuated. There were no reported injuries. 
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