Orange School Building Committee discusses construction phases for Fisher Hill addition

  • Here is what the new Fisher Hill Elementary School would look like with a three-story addition built onto its northern side. Contributed image

Staff Writer
Published: 1/17/2020 10:58:38 PM
Modified: 1/17/2020 10:57:43 PM

ORANGE — Thursday’s School Building Committee meeting, in addition to dealing with cost, had several updates about the plan to construct a three-story addition onto Fisher Hill Elementary School.

The plan is to demolish the adjacent Dexter Park Innovation School, and move all students into the expanded and renovated building.

Phased construction

If approved by voters, construction would begin in 2021, and take two to three years to complete depending on the method of delivery chosen — that is, whether project heads decide to interview and choose their own contractor, who assumes responsibility to deliver the project, or send the project to a bidding process known as “design-bid-build.”

In any case, construction will be done in phases. First, the school’s new access drive will be built, a decision made specifically so that construction workers would use the new road to get onto the site, not Dexter Street, where there are residences.

Phase two involves preparing the school for the three-story addition, including moving utilities and constructing a new retaining wall. In phase three, the three-story addition will be built. A barrier will be built to prevent disruption to students in the existing side of the building.

Phase four will be to renovate the existing Fisher Hill building, followed by the final phase of demolishing Dexter Park and completing the site work.

No pitched roof

The idea of a pitched roof on the school was virtually scrapped at the recent meeting. According to architects from Raymond Design Associates, a pitched roof, while attractive, is more expensive by about $1.5 million. A pitched roof also takes longer to construct, and is largely impractical given the odd shape of the existing roof at Fisher Hill.

A flat roof, however, allows easier access to potential rooftop utilities or panels, and is much faster to construct.

Reach David McLellan at or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.


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