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Unity school building project on target for end of summer

Union Leader Correspondent

April 09. 2014 7:59PM

UNITY — The new project managers of the Unity Elementary School project presented the Unity School Board with a timeline Tuesday, which includes an August completion date.

The new project managers — Trumbull-Nelson Construction Company, Inc., and Banwell Architects, and Gordon Bristol, owner’s representative — have decades of experience in designing and building schools in New Hampshire and throughout the northeast, Middletown McGoodwin, Superintendent of SAU No.6 in Claremont, said Wednesday.

“Trumbull-Nelson said right from the get-go they felt they could finish school and have the students in by the end of the summer, early September,” McGoodwin said.

On Tuesday the project managers announced the school building will be completed and ready for students before the end of August, he said.

“We’re very excited about where we are today as opposed to where we were March 21, the day before the vote,” McGoodwin said, referencing a $2.75 million bond vote needed to finish the project. “It would have been devastating if the building could not be built and much more expensive to not have the building built. … But most importantly I’m pleased for the children of Unity.”On March 22, Unity voters overwhelmingly approved a $2.75 million bond to finish the elementary school building project that has been marred by delays and increasing costs.

Though voters agreed at the Unity School District Annual Meeting that the project was mishandled from the start, voters said yes, 276 to 90, to continue the project with more funds and under a new project manager.

In August 2010, voters approved a $4.7 million bond to build the new school for Unity children in kindergarten through eighth grade at a special meeting after state officials ordered Unity Elementary School closed due to numerous unresolved fire and building code violations.

Architect Scott Vaughn, who helmed the building project, said the new school would be complete and ready for students for the start of the 2012 school year. But when it wasn’t complete the state fire marshal’s office and Department of Education granted a one-year waiver to the building and fire code violations of the old elementary school so that it could be used for another year.

Then in March 2013 voters approved an additional $550,000 bond to fund what Vaughn said was unanticipated site work.

In July the state fire marshal’s office placed a stop work order on construction, so the school building wasn’t ready last fall. The old school building had been demolished over the summer so Claremont School District officials invited Unity students and staff to use space in Disnard Elementary School and Claremont Middle School where they are currently.

In January 2014, with the stop work order still in place, the Unity School Board voted to replace Vaughn with construction company Trumbull-Nelson.

In February, the state fire marshal’s office granted Trumbull-Nelson permission to resume construction.

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