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Salem settles on figure for proposed high school project

SALEM — A $74,745,000 figure for the high school renovation and reconstruction project will be on the warrant for the March town election.

The district, architects and construction project managers have been working on providing more concrete costs for the ballot vote.

At a recent School Board meeting, Superintendent Michael Delahanty said those costs are in line with the $75 million the administration has been using as an estimate over the past several months.

“The total project estimate is $74,745,000,” said Delahanty. “That is a big number, and it seems like a very general number, but there is some background associated with it, including actual construction costs.” He said the figure also includes soft costs, such as furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Delahanty said the project’s architect and construction manager have gone through the costs with a fine-toothed comb.

The project includes demolishing and building new in some areas of the school, including the auditorium, and renovating other portions of the school.

When completed, the total area of the project will be 364,000 square feet. The core of the building will be large enough to accommodate 1,400 students, but the soft costs, such as furniture, fixtures, and technology, are based on an enrollment of 1,200 students, according to Delahanty.

The cost associated with the building itself is $57,820,000, according to Gino Baroni of Trident Project Advantage, the project manager representing the school district.

“We feel pretty comfortable that the $57,820,000 is an accurate number for the scope of the project,” said Baroni.

School Board member Peter Morgan said he has heard from people who have noted that Windham built an entirely new high school at a lower cost than the proposed Salem project.

However, Baroni noted that the total area of Windham High School is just over half the size of the total Salem project. He also said that the $38 million figure he has heard brought up for Windham High School only includes the hard construction costs.

With that information in hand, Morgan said the estimated Salem project costs compare favorably to the Windham project.

If the high school renovation and addition project passes in March, Delahanty has estimated that the project could begin in the late winter or early spring of

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