Renovations at Claremont's Stevens High School Near End

Friday, December 19, 2014
Claremont — The $12.6 million Stevens High School renovation project, begun more than a year ago, is about six weeks away from completion, and a community open house is being planned for early April.

Todd Thompson of Trumbull-Nelson, the construction manager on the project, told the renovation committee Wednesday that workers will be going room by room and assessing what still needs to be done.

“Based on what I see, I think it is a six-week project,” Thompson said. “We want to make sure the quality of the building is as good as we can make it. There are small things to do but they are important.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, the renovation committee said it had about $22,000 left in its contingency fund after allocating $17,000 for additional work on sections of the flooring in the school that were not part of the original contract. Most of that work has already been done by the contractor, with another $3,000 approved for flooring work on a third-floor corridor.

“A lot of these issues were (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) driven,” Stevens maintenance director Steve Plourde said of the flooring work. “We’ve been cited for these issues.”

“An important issue for NEASC was the appearance of the floors,” added committee member and former Stevens principal Frank Sprague.

Committee Chairman Dave Putnam said Thursday that the architect looked at the floor during the design phase and thought there were some areas that could be bypassed to save money.

“The budget was tight,” Putnam said.

But when demolition and renovations began, it became apparent that more of the flooring would need to be replaced or refinished to match the newer material. One example was in the boys’ locker room, where gaps were discovered when walls were removed, Putnam said. In other parts of the school, the “mismatch” between new and old flooring also posed problems.

“There could be health, safety and maintenance problems,” Putnam said.

The committee considered using the remaining $22,000 in contingency for exterior security cameras at the high school, but decided to leave it untouched for now and see what else the funds might be needed for as the project wraps up, though Trumbull-Nelson is still seeking quotes from two companies for exterior security cameras.

Initially, the committee hoped to use contingency money for both exterior and interior cameras, which were not part of the $12.6 million bond, but unforeseen costs, including additional hazardous material removal, took precedent.

The district’s director of technology services, Nathan LaVanway, is also researching a security system for all district schools and the committee wants to be sure that if it buys something, it will be compatible with the other security systems. Exterior and interior hallway cameras for all district schools is estimated at about $300,000, LaVanway said.

The committee first discussed an open house in early March, but Plourde asked for the date to be pushed back a month so he can be certain that all the rooms will be properly organized and cleaned.

Also mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting was that the auditorium’s new stage is almost complete. The new seats have been installed and the floor has also been refinished.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com .