Dartmouth Middle School roof project plans being developed

Oct 5, 2016

Dartmouth Middle School's roof replacement project has an owner's project manager and a designer and could be finished before school starts next fall, according to School Business Administrator James Kiely at the October 3 School Committee meeting.

Kiely said the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the state agency that oversees construction activities for public schools, has appointed an owner’s project manager and a designer. Currently, a schematic design is being created, which Kiely hopes to submit to the MSBA by its January 4 deadline.

The MSBA will vote to approve the plans at its February 15 board meeting, assuming the project is submitted by the January deadline. If it is approved in February, Kiely said he hopes to see construction begin and wrap up over the summer. He added that he is currently looking into doing some preliminary work before the summer.

“My gut tells me it’ll be an extremely busy summer, and we’re already making plans to try and do as much preliminary work as we can, including, if it’s not disruptive, some masonry work and a variety of things. Whatever we can do to gear up for the summer,” Kiley said.

Kiley said there are some concerns he’s watching out for, including how to proceed if construction is not able to be completed over the summer. He said that because the middle school has 37 different roofs, it gives crews flexibility to halt construction and still keep the school open in the fall if need be.

“The good news is there’s a lot of places to stop and start,” Kiley said.

He added that the number of roofs on the building makes it one of the more complex projects the MSBA have taken on in the past 20 years.

In order to ensure construction is finished in time, Kiley said there could be as many as three crews working on the roof at one time over the summer.

When asked about potential wrenches that could be thrown at the project, Kiley said he believes it will be approved by the MSBA, but said cost estimates are a concern.

“A lot of work is below the existing roofs so everything has to come off,” Kiley explained. “There’s a lot of things you don’t know when you are just walking around on a roof and taking measurements and saying ‘yeah, it should be this much per square foot.’"

Town Meeting members approved a total of $4.25 million for the project at the Spring Town Meeting.