Editorial: GHS construction milestone

Thursday is set to become a milestone for Greenfield.

It’s the day that the first phase of construction for the new high school will be over. On that day, the Dore and Whittier, the project’s architectural firm, will turn the new building over to the town.

It has been an amazing process to watch.

Consider that roughly a year ago, the spot where the 160,525-square-foot, two-story building sits was the parking lot between the high school and the football field.

Yet in a matter of weeks, the doors will be opened to welcome a new school year, offering a different home than the one that has housed Greenfield’s high school since the late 1950s. This year’s freshmen, the Class of 2018, will have the honor of being the first to finish all four years in the new school.

Once inside they, along with the other students, teachers, staff and visitors, will find not just new classrooms, but a library and administration offices. What they’ll also find is that adjacent demolition of the old building has gotten underway. This, too, will be done in phases, with a portion of the old building still serving a purpose in providing space for science labs and the music department. And the cafeteria and gymnasium will be used for at least part of the school year, with an expected shift to temporary quarters for the spring as the rest of the building goes up.

In the end, the only section of the school built almost six decades ago to remain will be the auditorium — an important community resource — and that will have undergone an extensive renovation.

There is still plenty to do by the fall of 2015. That said, kudos should be extended to the architects, the project manager Construction Monitoring Services, construction manager Shawmut Design and Construction and the numerous workers who have helped the project reach this point, one that is on time and on budget.

Not that we want to jinx it, but the project has probably has gone as smoothly as possible, and that is worth noting as well.

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