Ceremony marks milestone in GHS construction
Paul Viens, a member of the Greenfield High School Building Committee, signs a steel beam during a “topping off” ceremony on Thursday. It was the final beam in the first phase of high school construction for a facility that will be open to faculty and students in fall 2014. (Recorder/Chris Shores)
The final steel beam of the first phase of Greenfield High School construction is placed onto the building during a "topping off" ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. This part of the new high school is scheduled to be open to faculty and students in fall 2014. (Recorder/Chris Shores)
GREENFIELD — One final steel beam was lifted by crane Tuesday morning and placed on top of what will soon be the new Greenfield High School — a sign, to the people standing on the ground below, that the project continues to go as planned.
“It’s great to be moving along through the project and see us make one of many final steps,” said Timothy Farrell, chairman of the Greenfield School Building Committee.
He said he recently spoke to a Greenfield resident working on the project as a union worker, who told him that he hasn’t “worked on a project that’s run as smoothly and efficiently as this one in a long time.”
“So we’ll just sit back and do what we gotta do as a committee ... making decisions to make sure this continues to be ‘on time’ and ‘under budget.’” said Farrell. “Those are the key words from now until 2015.”
Since the $66 million high school project is being built on top of the site where the current high school sits, the work has been divided into multiple phases. The part of the high school which is currently being built — which will include the front entrance, classrooms and administrative offices — is scheduled to open next fall.
The beam itself was signed by Greenfield High School seniors, school leaders and construction officials. It also included an American flag and a small piece of paper that paid tribute to Jim Byrne, the high school’s project manager who died last month.
Without speeches or much fanfare, just a few short sounds from an air horn, a crane operator picked up the beam and lifted it on top of the school. A small group — building committee members, project supervisors, High School Principal Donna Woodcock and longtime employee/volunteer Betty Nee — watched from below.
Construction began on site in the spring and students continue to attend school in their current building next door. The state is paying about $42 million of the project’s total costs.
You can reach Chris Shores at: email@example.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264