Timetable points to a 2013 finish


By: Adam Leech
Date: Thursday, Jan 14, 2010
Publication: Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH — Although it may look like nothing is happening at Portsmouth Middle School over the next year, much will be done behind the scenes before construction begins on the $37.5 million project.

According to the draft project work plan presented Wednesday to the Joint Building Committee, there are approximately four dozen benchmarks between now and the beginning of construction for the renovation and expansion project, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 20. It is expected the project would be complete and ready for occupancy for the start of the school year in September 2013.

Related Stories Council approves Portsmouth Middle School bondResidents to council: Fund middle schoolPortsmouth Middle School cost reduced by $800,000Middle School tour scheduled in advance of August voteBoard to discuss school expansion$38.3M Portsmouth Middle School bond approval in doubt"Nothing has changed with the construction date," said Lisa DeStefano, of DeStefano Architects, which is working with JCJ Architecture on the project. "We've just spent more time defining what we have to do to get to that point."

Many decisions will be made over the next year that could affect the schedule, the final product and how the community — the students in particular — functions during the construction project. The project work plan presented on Wednesday was created to give the JBC a rough outline on when to expect what developments and when major decisions will need to be made.

The most immediate need is to bring on a construction manager. Eleven companies responded to the request for qualifications, which a JBC subcommittee will consider as it chooses finalists to submit a request for proposal. A manager is expected to be selected by mid-February, at which time Doug Roberts, of JCJ, said a more formal plan will be developed.

A draft schematic design report is expected in March with a final design report due back in early April, following completion of a geotechnical and traffic study. The JBC is scheduled to authorize construction documents on July 10, with the project put out to bid four months later. The project will be subject to the city land-use board review process in April with approval anticipated Oct. 21.

The redevelopment of the Wentworth School, on Granite Street, to a ball field will take a separate track from the Parrott Avenue site development. The goal is to have approval from city land-use boards and a demolition permit in hand by mid-June. Development of the site into a ball field is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 15.

The JBC also has created a subcommittee that will be led by School Board member Lisa Sweet that will focus solely on informing the public of major developments and opportunities to provide input.

One of the major decisions to be made hinges on whether a viable facility can be found elsewhere in the city where students can take classes during the project. Otherwise, the project will be phased to work around student activity. It is possible the school calendar may be modified at points during construction to facilitate certain aspects of the project. The School Board will ultimately have the final say on where classes will be held.

The conversion of the Portsmouth High School football field to an artificial turf surface is expected to begin at the end of the school year in June.

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