SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 15, 2013

Danvers High project nears completion

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Members of the high school building committee got a glimpse of the second phase of the $71 million renovation project Friday as the project nears the finish line.

The building is expected to be fully open in time for the new school year, officials say.

The project will be “substantially complete” by the end of the month, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said, as members of the Danvers High Design/Construction Advisory Committee toured portions of the renovation.

This designation does not mean that everything will be done, but it will allow staff to start moving into portions of the building that were previously off-limits to everyone but contractors. The town needs a certificate of occupancy from the building inspector before letting staff move in.

The school was renovated in phases over the past several years. A renovated 1960s academic wing, a new science wing, a renovated field house and auditorium, and a new band room were among the spaces built during the first phase.

“The punch-list items will be finished in August so that by the first of September, that should be complete,” Marquis said.

On Friday, the committee toured the old Vye Gym, a community space that got a makeover with new lighting, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Its “new” basketball backboards were salvaged from the renovation of the field house during the first phase of the project. The wooden floor will be sanded and painted, officials said.

The gym had acted as a cafeteria during the second phase of the renovation.

Officials then toured the new cafeteria, curriculum center and central office spaces for the superintendent and district staff. Outside, they saw the new sweeping front entrance to the school. The school has been reoriented from facing Cabot Road to facing the ball fields that stretch toward Burley Street. A drop-off area and expansive concrete walkway with landscaping, trees and shrubs were being installed Friday.

A new “Danvers High School” sign now graces the front entrance. A granite disk with the Danvers High Falcon on it, donated by the Class of 1963, will be installed in the next week or two. The Class of 1963 was the first graduating class of Danvers High 50 years ago. The Class of 1985 donated money for an electronic sign along Cabot Road.

Officials also toured the school’s new lobby, which includes a town seal embedded in the terrazzo flooring, light wood on the walls, a snack bar for students and a soaring clerestory that brings in plenty of natural light. The library and main office are both off this lobby.

Marquis said the project is “below budget and on time.”

Open-house tours for residents are being planned for the fall, he said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.