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GHS Construction

GHS project cuts $250,000 into reserves

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield High School Building Committee voted to spend about $250,000 of its contingency money this week on additional technology and furniture and to account for some errors made in the school’s electrical engineering plans.

The $66 million high school, which needs to be partly completed for this coming school year, remains on budget because there’s still about $2 million left to spend on change orders and new purchases.

Still, the committee’s project manager Construction Monitoring Services plans to track the root causes of all the changes. By the end of construction, if there is a strong enough case that one contractor or subcontractor is responsible for multiple changes, the project managers could advise Greenfield to try to seek money back from that company.

For instance, Shawmut Construction and Design had to spend an unanticipated $132,000 on construction recently, in part because of discrepancies and omissions in an electrical engineer’s construction drawings. The engineer is a subcontractor of architect Dore and Whittier.

Subcontractors have a “standard of care” clause in their contracts, project manager Paul Griffin told the building committee this week. If by the end of the project, it’s found that total electrical construction costs increased by more than 3 percent because of those errors, the town would have a legitimate case to demand some money back from that subcontractor, he said.

The building committee also approved up to $750,000 to spend on new technology in the school, an increase of $48,000 over the budgeted amount. A “wish list” of items that had been made last fall was nearly $100,000 higher.

Architects have been working for months with Mayor William Martin and High School Principal Donna Woodcock to assess the school’s technology needs. Thomas Hengelsberg, of Dore and Whittier, said that the technology purchases provides a solid backbone that the school can build off of in years to come. The current high school’s computers are still in great shape and can be moved over to the new school, he said, which means only 54 new computers need to be purchased.

It was the same story for the project’s furniture, fixtures and equipment budget: costs for these items totaled $772,000, which is $70,000 over its original budget. This coming school year the current high school will be demolished in phases.

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