NORTH ANDOVER — Kittredge School finally has its own gymnasium.
The only thing that’s lacking is the hardwood floor. Bundles of oak boards are waiting to be installed over the concrete floor.
Moisture, according to Principal Richard Cushing, is delaying the process. There is still too much moisture in the concrete for the hardwood floor to be laid, he said.
As soon as the concrete is dry enough, the floor will be completed – and the kids at Kittredge will have a gym of their own. The last day of school is June 24 and Cushing said he hopes students will be able to start using the new facility before then.
The School Building Committee, which oversaw the project, had hoped to have the gymnasium finished by the time students returned from April vacation. The unusually harsh winter, however, slowed down construction, according to School Building Committee Chairman Stanley Limpert, who also heads the School Committee.
The Seaver Construction Co., the contractor, won the job by submitting the lowest bid of $789,000. That amount, however, did not include a hardwood floor. At Town Manager Andrew Maylor’s recommendation, the selectmen transferred $50,000 from the money appropriated for the new school administration headquarters, which is being built across Main Street from Kittredge School.
Teachers and parents raised thousands of dollars and Brooks School, which employs a number of Kittredge parents, donated $30,000 to the cause.
“We are very grateful to the community,” Cushing said.
Kittredge School, built in 1950, has a tradition, the fifth-grade “clapout.” On the last day of classes, when the fifth-graders empty their lockers and leave the school for the last time, teachers, students and parents line the corridors.
As the departing fifth-graders pass by, they “clap” them out of the building, wishing them well as they make their transition to North Andover Middle School, just across Route 125 from Kittredge.
“I hope the gym is ready in time for the fifth-grade clapout,” Cushing said.