SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 6, 2012

Wings hand-off a milestone in Danvers High project

BY ETHAN FORMAN, STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — DANVERS — The $71 million Danvers High project passed a major milestone last week as the town took possession of the newly renovated 1960s academic wing and a new three-story science wing, albeit more than two months late.

Building Inspector Richard Maloney approved the temporary certificate of occupancy on June 28, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said. While there is still some work to be done in the two new wings, the fire alarm and sprinkler systems have been inspected and are working properly, Marquis said.

The milestone means the buildings have been transferred from the contractor, Bacon Construction of East Providence, R.I., to the town to be readied for the upcoming school year. The superintendent’s office has been moved into temporary space in the academic wing, Marquis said.

The high school’s furnishings have also been moved out of the massive, three-story Dunn wing, which for the past two school years had been used as temporary swing space for the high school. Wakefield Moving and Storage Co. was hired to move furniture and other equipment out of the Dunn wing, and school staff also helped with the move.

The wing, which was built in the early 1970s, has had chronic problems with its walls, ventilation systems and windows, and has many classrooms without windows. It is slated to be demolished with a crane the week of July 16, Marquis said. Crews must remove asbestos first.

The 650-seat auditorium has not yet been finished as the contractor waits for new seats to arrive sometime this month. The stage has been built, and wall systems and sound-absorbing acoustical ceiling clouds are being installed.

Crews are now converting the high school’s Vye gym into a temporary cafeteria, as the old high school cafeteria has been converted into instructional space, and the Dunn wing cafeteria will be torn down. The second phase of the project will include the construction of a new high school office, library, lobby and cafeteria along a central corridor. A new central office will be constructed between the field house and Vye gym.

The Danvers High renovation project has been moving forward in stages since the summer of 2010 when demolition work began. 

The original plan had been to move into the newly renovated academic wing and new science wing during the April vacation. Despite crews working seven days a week, the work lagged when several subcontractors experienced financial difficulties, among other things. The town decided to wait until after school ended to take possession of the new wings.

Despite the delay, the project is “still on budget, still on time.” It is scheduled to be finished in August 2013.

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