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On Monday, workers began demolition of the 1950 wing of Wilton's Florence Rideout Elementary School as part of a $8.25 million construction and renovation project. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS)

Wilton school project begins

WILTON — On Monday, heavy machinery started to demolish a section of the 1950 wing of the Florence Rideout Elementary School as part of the first phase of the $8.25 million elementary school construction and renovation project.

The main office, music room and corridor space will become nine classrooms with a target completion date of February 2015.

The main challenge is how to build and renovate while also providing classroom space for students in Wilton during construction and in Lyndeborough during renovations.

When completed in September 2016, Wilton and Lyndeborough will share the elementary school in Wilton to educate students in grades 1-5 at Florence Rideout Elementary. Prekindergarten and kindergarten will be provided at Lyndeborough Central.

“The consolidated elementary school project is going exceedingly well. I have been very pleased with the progress made thus far. Members of Hutter Construction and their subcontractors have been very professional,” said Principal Tim O’Connell.

“The site looks like a disaster zone. However, the subcontractors doing the demolition are very skilled and are diligent about recycling and not damaging any components that will be repurposed. I have enjoyed watching their progress; getting rid of the old to make way for the new,” added O’Connell.

The final plan calls for major changes at the Florence Rideout Elementary School in Wilton. The 1950s wing will be demolished and a new state-of-the-art building constructed while renovating the 1895 wing, including the gymnasium.

In Lyndeborough, multiple classrooms will be renovated to kindergarten state standards, and the SAU 63 staff will relocate there, saving taxpayers $30,000 a year in office rental costs.

“Things are on schedule and progressing as expected,” said School Board member Harry Dailey.

Lyndeborough has about 70 students in grades K-5 with only one classroom per grade. Wilton has at least two classrooms per grade with 212 students.

The towns share a cooperative middle and high school but were financially responsible for the elementary school located within their town borders until voters changed that in March 2014 to allow the elementary schools to be consolidated.

“Now that we are a fully consolidated district and all school expenses will be shared by both towns according to the formula,” said School Board Chairman Geoff Brock.

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