Stevens Renovation on Schedule

Claremont — The $12.6 million Stevens High School renovation project is “on schedule and on budget,” architect Ingrid Nichols with Banwell Architects told the School Board Wednesday night.

But the companion piece to the renovations — Johnson Controls energy performance contract — is still without financing.

Board member and chairman of the Stevens Renovation Committee, Dave Putnam, told the board they are considering another lending institution in addition to Oppenheimer & Co.

“We are waiting for a new term sheet from Century Bank (in Massachusetts) and will compare that to Oppenheimer,” Putnam said. “Both are able to fund us, we just have to compare them.”

Oppenheimer issued a letter of intent in early October to finance the $3.6 million project for energy-saving equipment at the district’s school over 20 years but has not closed on the financing.

Steven Horton, the school district’s representative on the project, told the board they have finalized the construction budget with general contractor Trumbull Nelson at $10.8 million, which is about $98,000 less than budgeted. The figure includes about $500,000 projected savings over the next 20 years under the Johnson Controls contract and the district plans to use that money up front to install new windows and insulation on all four sides of the building. The bond figure approved in March did not include new windows throughout the building.

“If it (Johnson Controls financing) doesn’t happen, we will have to find a way to save $450,000,” Horton said, adding that they would probably recommend holding off on some new windows until a different energy savings contract can be arranged. “We are not there yet but the thinking has to be built in,” Horton said.

The budget as it stands now gives the district “everything” voters expected when the bond was approved and includes a $534,000 contingency, Horton said.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Nichols reviewed some of the alterations and additions made to the construction plans since the bond vote in March. Among these are an additional exit at Summer Street for gym access, a ramp for handicap accessibility at the main entrance inside of a lift, improved security in the lobby at the Broad Street entrance, revised locker room layout and revised classroom layout so English, social studies and math are together.

However one change, changing the stage from raised to floor level will be revisited by the renovation committee after resident Chris Terrell questioned why it was done. Terrell said it would be difficult to put on theater productions and concerts without a stage and the committee should have consulted staff that would use it.

Committee chairman Dave Putnam told the board the wooden stage is being removed because of its condition and bringing it up to code would be too costly. Though the cost of new stage has not been determined, Horton said it would mean a change in the plans.

“If you build a new stage, something else will have to go,” he said.

Floor level stages are used at Hanover High School and Proctor Academy, which Banwell Designed.

“It allows for more interaction, more seating and more flexibility,” said Nichols, explaining there would be a slight angle toward the audience.

Putnam said the committee would revisit the issue and also speak with staff at Stevens.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at


The SAU 6 School Board is considering a proposal from Oppenheimer & Co. to finance a $3.6 million energy-savings project at Stevens High School. The company has been misidentified in recent stories this fall.