EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 14, 2014

Major progress made on Salem school renovations

Contractors hammering away at Salem schools

(Continued)

Concrete will be poured this week for the stairs and handicapped ramp at the main entrance. The concrete floors in the building are scheduled to be poured later this month.

Fisk principal George Murray and Soule principal Anna Parrill said they were pleased with the progress. They said the work being done by Bonnette, Stone & Page of Laconia has caused minimal disruption.

That’s because construction in some areas is being done before or after classes. Parrill said the crew arrives as early as 5:30 a.m. to get started.

“We’re very excited,” Parrill said of the project. “They try to do certain things during off hours.”

Both principals praised the students for being able to focus on their studies under less-than-ideal conditions. They have been sitting in classrooms with bare concrete floors since August.

At Fisk, many of the ceiling tiles have been removed so utility work can be done, Parrill said.

But students have really embraced the project, she said.

“They absolutely love it,” Parrill said. “They are very intrigued.”

Murray agreed.

“The kids enjoy being part of the progress,” he said.

Parents also are pleased with the work as well, according to Sherry Kilgus-Kramer, president of Strengthen Our Schools. Her two children are former Soule School students.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think parents are happy to see the outward progress.”

The organization pushed for voter approval of the projects at the polls a year ago. Residents backed the work only a year after defeating a similar proposal at the polls.

A year earlier, Salem residents voted to renovate the town’s three other elementary schools.

A $74.3 million proposal to renovate Salem High School and its Career and Technical Education Center goes before voters in March.

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