POLL: Construction At Meadowbrook – With Students Or Without?
Some parents and staff members have expressed concerns over the removal of asbestos flooring and other construction issues.
As the last major project to be tackled with money from the $52 million bond issue passed by voters in 2008, renovations at Meadowbrook Farms have been discussed and discussed … and discussed. Now more discussions are under way — not about the previous question of whether or not construction should take place but instead when that construction should take place.
At a meeting of about 20 Meadowbrook parents and a couple of staff members Wednesday night, it was agreed to fight the possibility that construction — including asbestos removal — take place while children and staff were in the building.
The School Committee approved a bid of $2.3 million by Tower Construction to complete all the Meadowbrook renovations at a meeting March 20 — $900,000 below the pre-bid estimate.
Tower's bid was based on a construction schedule from June 2012 through August 2013, with work to take place while school was in session. When parent David Gecawich questioned the safety of such a plan, officials said stringent safety regulations would be place. Committee Chair Deidre Gifford offered to arrange a meeting with the contractor, school building committee members, the construction management company, a representative from the state health department, and Meadowbrook parents to discuss safety issues. That meeting has yet to take place.
School Committee members are waiting to hear bids from Tower for alternative schedules in which the construction would take place without students or staff in the building. The Committee meets next on April 24.
Gecawich argued at Wednesday night’s meeting that because the bid came in significantly below what had been estimated, there was money available to spend to move the students to an alternative location for the duration of the project.
A total of $3.8 million was approved in three stages to fix Meadowbrook. What started as $1 million set aside to fix the building’s moisture ills grew as more extensive problems were identified. In February 2011, the Town Council approved an additional $1.1 million to replace the roof; in September 2011, they approved spending an additional $1.7 million to the overall project, bringing the grand total set aside to fix Meadowbrook to $3.8 million.