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The new gym floor has been installed.
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Taconic Construction: Final Month Before 'Substantially Complete'

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Equipment in the shops is being installed.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In one month, a certification of occupancy will be issued and staff will be allowed into the new $120.8 million to start setting up their offices.
Before then, more than 100 tradesmen remain on site putting together the final pieces. Work is expected to continue for a few months after June as workers complete punch list items.
The next milestone is at the end of June when the building hits the "substantially complete" mark. 
The newest development is the gymnasium floor. The space had been built out early and then used mostly for storage. In the last few months, workers completed the installation of a partition and painted the space. More recently, the new gym floor had been installed and as on Monday still wasn't ready to be walked on.
Next to the gym is the auditorium. That is eyed to be the very last piece of the building to be completed. But, as much of the rest of the building is just about done, workers are now focusing attention on getting that completed. 
New equipment that had been ordered for the school is placed throughout. That includes brand new kitchen equipment for the cafeteria, cosmetology stations, vehicle painting bays, vehicle lifts, manufacturing equipment, and more. 
The upper floors got the first piece of attention. There, nearly everything complete. The floors are done and protected and painters are now working their way through adding the final coats. In other areas of the building, there is still work to be done. Floorings is being completed in some sections and in others, ceiling tiles are being placed.
Next week, the permanent power for the building will be switched on, replacing temporary units. 
Meanwhile, much of the exterior work is in full swing. The roadway behind the new school for buses to enter, circle around front, and drop of the students is done but the final paving coat is being held off until August once there is little use left for heavy-duty vehicles to travel on it. A parking lot for staff is also done and sidewalks are currently being installed. 
In front of the building, a canopy is slated to be completed soon and concrete benches are being installed. 
The new 246,520 square feet building, set to accommodate 920 students, broke ground in early 2016. The site had been a small parking lot and rocky terrain. It has since been transformed into a new school. Skanska USA, architects Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc., and Gilbane Construction have been overseeing the work and last month, a peak of around 250 subcontractors was on site. That has now dwindled a bit, down to 165 on Friday, as the work the contractors have left is shrinking. 
After school lets out, staff will be given boxes to pack up their classrooms. This summer mover will transport those, plus anything deemed savable from the current building, across the driveway to the new school. When school starts next year, the students will be occupying the new building as the old one is razed.
A grand opening is in the planning for the fall.


Tags: Taconic school project,   

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Supplemental Bill Has $1M for Rural Schools, $200K for Barton's Crossing

BOSTON — The Legislature's recently passed $541 million closeout supplemental budget for fiscal 2019 includes another $1 million rural school aid, for in fiscal 2020, for a total of $3.5 million in rural school aid this fiscal year. 
"I'm happy to see this bill make those investments in public education, regional school transportation, public transportation, among many other areas " said state Sen. Adam Hinds, who has been a strong proponent of increasing aid to the schools in his largely rural district. "It is my hope that, in providing this additional investment, we can expand this program and make meaningful investments in more school districts."
The Rural School Aid grant program helps school districts with low population densities and lower-than-average incomes address fiscal challenges and take steps to improve efficiency. Administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rural School Aid is a source of funding separate from Chapter 70 education aid and is intended to supplement the FY20 operating budgets of eligible school districts.
In order to qualify for Rural School Aid, DESE must determine that a school district meets two requirements:
  1. The "rural factor " based student density per square mile of a school district; and
  2. Ability to pay, or the average per capital income of a school district.
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