Rowe to break ground for new school on Tuesday

Hopes for building to open for next fall

ROWE — A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Rowe Elementary School will be held Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. — almost 14 months after a lightning strike to a cupola caused a fire that destroyed the old school.

School Building Committee Chairwoman Susan Zavotka said the construction bid for the estimated $6 million elementary school has been awarded to DEW Construction Corp. of Williston, Vt.

The 20,865-square-foot school will be similar in size to the former school, although sited differently from the old building for more solar heat gain, natural light and better traffic flow. According to floor plans posted on the School Building Committee website, the building will contain four main classrooms respectively for children in preschool, Grades K-2, 3-4 and 5-6. There is a project room, library, lobby, as well as small and large special education rooms. The school will also have a music room, cafeteria, gymnasium, storage space, a faculty room and administrative offices.

Zavotka said a pre-construction meeting was held last Friday. She said setup at the site will probably begin within a week of the ground-breaking.

“The plan is to have the building ready for students next school year,” said Zavotka.

DEW Construction has built the new Keene, N.H., middle school, and has renovated and built additions to other public schools — including the Brattleboro middle and high school and the Putney School in Vermont.

The estimated $6.9 million cost of the new Rowe School is to be paid for with the insurance payoff for the old building. School and town officials opted not to seek school building assistance money through the Massachusetts School Building Authority, because the application itself could slow the process and, with a student enrollment of fewer than 100, funding for the new school might not have been awarded.

School lawyer Russell Dupere said the town could build a school without state funding, provided building codes are followed and reviewed by a local building inspector, and that the state procurement process is followed.

Greenberg Associates Architects of Putney, Vt., was hired for architectural services, and Daniel A. Pallotta of P3 Project Planning Professionals has been hired to serve as project manager.

Pallotta was the owner’s project manager for the Four Corners School renovation in Greenfield in 2012.

Greenberg Associates has worked on several school and library additions in the area, including Leverett Elementary School, Buckland Shelburne Elementary School and Warwick Center School.

Since the August 2012 fire, the Rowe Elementary School has been housed in a section of the Hawlemont Regional School. This fall, 57 students are enrolled in the Rowe School, including 34 Rowe children and 23 School Choice students.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

Editor’s note: The spelling of the Rowe school’s architect was wrong in previous versions of this story.

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