GHS building committee OKs final construction phasing plan
The new Greenfield High School, shown here in an architectural rendering, is scheduled to be completed by September 2015. (Courtesy Dore & Whittier)
During the 2013-14 school year, students use a temporary entrance to access the current high school (the top left point of the school, as shown in this diagram and marked by an arrow). Meanwhile, the first half of the new building is constructed in what was the adjacent parking lot. (Courtesy Dore & Whittier)
During the 2014-2015 school year, students move into the new building while also using a refitted section on the north part of the old building. The cafeteria, kitchen and gym closes during spring 2015, while the new building is gradually constructed throughout the year. (Courtesy Dore & Whittier)
During summer 2014, the rest of the old building is demolished. The new building, including a renovated auditorium, is complete and ready for full operation. Construction on the athletic fields will take a little longer: through the 2015 calendar year. (Courtesy Dore & Whittier)
GREENFIELD — Greenfield High School students and their teachers will spend their next academic year with a ringside seat while half of their new $66 million school rises from the adjacent parking lot. It’s the first step in a carefully choreographed dance that will see sections of the school built, remodeled or removed around the students over three years.
During the following school year, 2014-2015, the students will be studying in the new classrooms while other school operations will move into temporary facilities located in a retooled section of the old building. The old school’s gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen will be used during fall 2014 before activities are shifted into the temporary space that spring.
The majority of the old high school will be demolished during the course of the 2014-2015 school year and the rest of the new building will be constructed in its place. In the eye of the storm will be the school’s auditorium, the only physical reminder of the old high school, which will be closed and renovated throughout the entire school year.
During summer 2015, all of the new school sections, and the auditorium, will be pieced together. The north, and final remaining, section of the old high school will be demolished. When students and faculty return that fall, they will be using only the new 160,525-square-foot building.
Consultants: plan considers all scenarios
It’s a phasing plan that considers a range of possible scenarios and has been thoroughly examined for months by the town’s three hired consultants — its project manager Construction Monitoring Services, architectural firm Dore & Whittier and construction manager Shawmut Design and Construction — representatives from those companies told committee members at a meeting last week.
“We’re very cognitive of what you guys have been through before,” said lead architect Lee Dore, alluding to the Greenfield Middle School renovation a decade ago — a project completed two years late, $6 million over budget and mired by lawsuits, contract terminations, unlawful spending and an investigation by the state inspector general’s office.
“I think you have a great plan,” said Mayor William Martin, who sits on the committee. “I really think the three groups here working as a team are going to make this happen.”
One point of debate at the meeting: the suggestion that Shawmut would set up its construction offices east of the skating rink, where the school’s playground sits.
The consultants’ plan to remove a few trees and slightly shift the location of the playground drew concern from some building committee members, who said that the land belongs to the town.
“I see some problems with the school department stepping off school grounds and saying it’s cost effective to do this,” said member Kenneth Black.
Martin said he would talk with the Greenfield Recreation Department about the move. Black said that he just wants town residents to be aware of the suggestion before any physical action took place.
2013-2014 school year
A ground-breaking ceremony in April will kick off construction on the $66 million high school. Primary construction company Shawmut will move onto school grounds and begin setting up shop, ultimately sectioning off the school’s parking lot at some point this spring.
A temporary entrance will be opened near the north of the building — displacing the faculty lounge and eating area and the athletic director’s office — and foot traffic will still flow right through the school’s lobby. This will be the school’s entrance through June 2014.
Beginning this summer, and all throughout the 2013-14 school year, construction crews will build the first part of the new building — a two-story structure that will include classrooms, the library, an administrative wing and a boiler room and custodial area.
The school’s parking lot will be closed, causing several immediate changes.
A temporary bus and drop-off loop will be established on the north of the site — creating a horseshoe loop off of Silver Street, with entrance point Lenox Street and an exit on Kent Street.
The Poet Seat modulars — which house the district’s therapeutic day program that serves middle and high school students with acute emotional needs — will be moved from the parking lot to east of the old building.
A temporary faculty parking lot, with 125 spaces, will sit north of the old building, accessible from the Lenox Street entrance.
A small parking lot for the skating rink and athletic events will be opened on the south of the site, accessible from the Barr Avenue entrance via Cleveland Street.
No students will be able to drive to school during construction, affecting approximately 30 individuals with permits, said High School Principal Donna Woodcock. Alternatives may be discussed, including temporarily allowing them to park at the former Lunt Silversmiths property on Federal Street, she said.
2014-2015 school year
In summer 2014, the north end of the current building will be fitted up to serve as a temporary home for the school’s science classrooms and large space for band and chorus. It will eventually also house the cafeteria and gym, although not until the spring.
Most of the school’s academic and administrative activity will occur in the new building. The school will begin using its new main entrance at the front of the new building. A temporary corridor will connect the new building with the old one.
Traffic will enter via Barr Avenue and a parking lot to the west side of the school will be available for faculty.
The school’s cafeteria and kitchen will be in use in fall 2014, but then will be shut down the following spring.
The large space in the north part of the old building will alternate throughout the day between a cafeteria and a practice room for band and chorus. Food preparation will likely be shifted to the middle school.
The gym will be used in the fall, but it too will be shut down come spring. A temporary athletic area will be created in the north section of the old building.
The auditorium will be closed and renovated throughout the 2014-2015 school year.
And throughout that year, the old building will be demolished one part at a time, while parts of the new building are built in its place.
In summer 2015, construction to the new building will be finalized and the temporary facilities at the north end of the old building will be demolished. All sections of the new building will be open and operational that fall.
Construction on new athletic fields to the east will begin in spring 2015 and continue throughout that calendar year.
And more parking will continue to be added throughout 2015, ultimately surrounding the school in all four directions.
You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264