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Unity School building progress being made

Union Leader Correspondent

May 06. 2014 8:16PM

UNITY — Four years after the initial town approval and funding of the project, the Unity Elementary School building is on target to be open Sept. 2.

“We’re making strong progress on all fronts,” said Ronald Bauer, executive vice president of Lebanon-based Trumbull-Nelson.

Trumbull-Nelson, Banwell Architect and Gordon Bristol, owner’s representative, were charged with getting the long-delayed project back on track earlier this year after the initial project manager and architect was let go by the school district.

Bauer met with school Principal Chip Baldwin, Unity School board members, the town code enforcement officer, a state Fire Marshal’s Office official and project architects at the project site Tuesday afternoon for the project’s weekly meeting.

Several construction issues have been resolved, he said.

Possibly flammable foam installation used on the siding of the windows that the Fire Marshal’s Office would not allow has been cut out and replaced with fire retardant lumber, Bauer said.

“That was a piece of the job that was very labor intensive,” he said.

Additionally, the state Department of Education has tentatively approved the building’s floor plans, he said.

Some of the classrooms were too small, so some walls were knocked down and moved, Bauer said.

He has been pleasantly surprised by how little damage was caused by freezing temperatures in the building this winter, Bauer said.

“When we took over in January, it was like 20 below zero, and there was no heat in the building,” Bauer said.

His team is ready to finish putting up the sheet rock and start painting the interior of the building, he said.

School staff should be able to move into the building a week before Sept. 2, he said.

And in late August, Bauer said he would like to hold a town celebration at the school.

“It’s been a long process for the town,” he said.

Residents have been asking to help with the project, so Bauer is looking to create opportunities for volunteers including playground work and painting parties in some of the classrooms.

“Anything they can do helps to bring the project in under budget,” Bauer said.

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