EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 4, 2014

Cost of new school finalized

June ballot will decide if taxpayers support spending to replace Hunking School


In approving the budget for the new school Tuesday, the building committee rejected an idea pushed by several city councilors to have sections of the new school constructed off-site and brought to Haverhill. Those councilors said they were convinced that using prefabricated classrooms would trim the final cost of the project.

But a press release put out by the School Department yesterday concluded the opposite.

“The School Building Committee voted to stick with standard construction after learning that the use of the prefabricated classrooms would increase the cost of building the new school,” the press release said.

In late 2011, the city closed half of the Hunking due to fears a portion of the building could collapse. About 150 students were sent to another school on the opposite side of the city. Repairs were made and the students were eventually moved back to Hunking, but the building is expected to be usable until the 2016-2017 school year.

Joslin Lesser & Associates is the project management firm and JCJ Architecture of Boston is the architectural firm for the new school.

Jeffrey Luxenberg of Joslin Lesser & Associates said the architects brought the project in within budget estimates by “refining interior and exterior designs to provide the savings necessary to bring the project in at or slightly under budget.”

The construction manager, Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston, said the initial estimates were based on the architectural drawings and designs.

An estimator hired by JCJ Architecture provided a second set of estimates. Together, the project manager, architects and construction manager reconciled the two sets of estimates to come up with the final estimate. That $61.5 million cost, approved by the building committee this week, will now be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The state is scheduled to give its final approval of the project June 4 and enter into an agreement with Haverhill to pay for the school, which would be built next to the existing Hunking building.

Luxenberg said contingency money built into the budget will cover any unforeseen expenditures and keep the project within the $61.5 million budget.

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