EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 3, 2014

Windham school fix estimate is almost $700K

Estimate could drop for Golden Brook School

WINDHAM — A preliminary repair bill for water-damaged Golden Brook School portable classrooms is close to $700,000.

Business administrator Adam Steel provided a consultant’s estimate to the School Board during a meeting Tuesday, but also offered a more optimistic outlook.

“I’d suspect this number will be a high number,” Steel said.

For one thing, Laconia-based Bonnette, Page & Stone’s construction estimate was prepared before the district has received bids, Steel told the board.

“It is not based on bids yet,” he said.

There may be opportunities for savings in choices of building materials, he said.

The number surprised School Board member Dennis Senibaldi, who admitted he scratched his head over the estimate and couldn’t fathom the projected cost.

“This is crazy,” Senibaldi said.

But Steel stressed it likely won’t be that bad.

“These are all worst-case scenario numbers,” Steel told the board.

School Board member Mike Joanis said that even if savings are realized, the cost of the project is significant and could exceed $500,000.

“We’re looking at making a significant investment,” he said.

One possible savings Senibaldi highlighted would be eliminating a proposed covered walkway, projected to cost $75,000.

Leaks and concerns about mold forced administrators to move about 160 third-graders from the portable classrooms in February.

Administrators split them between the main Golden Brook building and the high school. About 90 are at the high school.

The board is expected to receive a report with firmer numbers at a meeting April 15.

Steel asked the board to be prepared to decide then whether to move forward with renovation, so repairs can be made in time for next school year.

He said he has told consultants the district wants any repairs completed by Aug. 15.

Engineering consultants have concluded the portables can be repaired and used.

“This building does have life left in it and can be useful as school classrooms moving forward,” Steel said.

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